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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them Allby Jim Collins
Synopses & Reviews
The new question
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.
The new study
With a team of more than twenty researchers, Collins and Hansen studied companies that rose to greatness—beating their industry indexes by a minimum of ten times over fifteen years—in environments characterized by big forces and rapid shifts that leaders could not predict or control. The research team then contrasted these “10X companies” to a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to achieve greatness in similarly extreme environments.
The new findings
The authors challenge conventional wisdom with thought-provoking, sticky, and supremely practical concepts. They include: 10Xers; the 20 Mile March; Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs; Leading above the Death Line; Zoom Out, Then Zoom In; and the SMaC Recipe.
Finally, in the last chapter, Collins and Hansen present their most provocative and original analysis: defining, quantifying, and studying the role of luck. The great companies and the leaders who built them were not luckier than the comparisons, but they did get a higher Return on Luck.
This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven, and uplifting. He and Hansen show convincingly that, even in a chaotic and uncertain world, greatness happens by choice, not chance.
Book News Annotation:
Collins, a business author and researcher who teaches executives from the corporate and social sectors, and Hansen (management, U. of California, Berkeley, and INSEAD) analyze companies that have achieved greatness in tough environments, such as Amgen, Intel, Microsoft, Progressive Insurance, and Southwest Airlines, to understand what it takes to achieve greatness in the extreme business world of today and compare them to those that failed in similar environments, such as Genentech, AMD, Apple, and PSA. They consider the differences in these companies from their founding up to 2002, concluding that the best leaders were more disciplined, empirical, and paranoid (rather than more risk taking, visionary, and creative); that the ability to scale innovation is more important than innovation by itself; that fast decisions and actions do not work; that great enterprises do not have more good luck; and that they change less, not more, in reaction to a rapidly changing world. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns withanother groundbreaking work, this time to ask: why do some companies thrive inuncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research,buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins andhis colleague Morten Hansen enumerate the principles for building a truly greatenterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times. This book isclassic Collins: contrarian, data-driven and uplifting.
About the Author
Jim Collins is a student of companies—great ones, good ones, weak ones, failed ones—from young start-ups to venerable sesquicentenarians. The author of the national bestseller Good to Great and coauthor of Built to Last, he serves as a teacher to leaders throughout the corporate and social sectors. His work has been featured in Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, USA Today, and Harvard Business Review.
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