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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companiesby James C. Collins
Synopses & Reviews
"This is not a book about charismatic visionary leaders. It is not about visionary product concepts or visionary products or visionary market insights. Nor is it about just having a corporate vision. This is a book about something far more important, enduring, and substantial. This is a book about visionary companies." So write Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in this groundbreaking book that shatters myths, provides new insights, and gives practical guidance to those who would like to build landmark companies that stand the test of time.
Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies — they have an average age of nearly one hundred years and have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of fifteen since 1926 — and studied each company in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day — as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from other companies?"
What separates General Electric, 3M, Merck, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Walt Disney, and Philip Morris from their rivals? How, for example, did Procter & Gamble, which began life substantially behind rival Colgate, eventually prevail as the premier institution in its industry? How was Motorola able to move from a humble battery repair business into integrated circuits and cellular communications, while Zenith never became dominant in anything other than TVs? How did Boeing unseat McDonnell Douglas as the world's best commercial aircraft company — what did Boeing have that McDonnell Douglas lacked?
By answering such questions, Collins and Porras go beyond the incessant barrage of management buzzwords and fads of the day to discover timeless qualities that have consistently distinguished out-standing companies. They also provide inspiration to all executives and entrepreneurs by destroying the false but widely accepted idea that only charismatic visionary leaders can build visionary companies.
Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the twenty-first century and beyond.
About the Author
Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. Having invested over a decade of research into the topic, Jim has co-authored three books, including the classic Built to Last,a fixture on the Business Weekbestseller list for more than five years, generating over 70 printings and translations into 16 languages. His work has been featured in Fortune, The Economist, Business Week, USA Today, Industry Week, Inc., Harvard Business Reviewand Fast Company.
Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts multi-year research projects and works with executives from the private, public, and social sectors.
Jim has served as a teacher to senior executives and CEOs at corporations that include: Starbucks Coffee, Merck, Patagonia, American General, W.L. Gore, and hundreds more. He has also worked with the non-corporate sector such as the Leadership Network of Churches, Johns Hopkins Medical School, the Boys &Girls Clubs of America and The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management.
Jim invests a significant portion of his energy in large-scale research projects — often five or more years in duration — to develop fundamental insights and then translate those findings into books, articles and lectures. He uses his management laboratory to work directly with executives and to develop practical tools for applying the concepts that flow from his research.
In addition, Jim is an avid rock climber and has made free ascents of the West Face of El Capitan and the East Face of Washington Column in Yosemite Valley.
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