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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All Cover

ISBN13: 9780062120991
ISBN10: 0062120999
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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
Great by Choice distinguishes itself from Collinss prior work by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today.

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 study results were full of provocative surprises. Such as:

  • The best leaders were not more risk taking, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons; they were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.
  • Innovation by itself turns out not to be the trump card in a chaotic and uncertain world; more important is the ability to scale innovation, to blend creativity with discipline.
  • Following the belief that leading in a “fast world” always requires “fast decisions” and “fast action” is a good way to get killed.
  • The great companies changed less in reaction to a radically changing world than the comparison companies.

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)

Synopsis:

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

wisewoman, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by wisewoman)
Great research, compellingly presented.

A must read for today's leaders.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Joseph Landes, December 8, 2011 (view all comments by Joseph Landes)
I excitedly picked up Jim Collins' latest book--"Great by Choice" and essentially devoured it in one reading. I have to admit that I am a self-avowed Collins junkie and actually have met him twice since he wrote Good to Great. I like others was wondering if he could really follow such a seminal piece of work with something equally great and I have to say that he delivered. I say that because the essence of why Good to Great was such an important work was that the lessons learned are "bite sized" enough to be transferable not just to business but to everyday life. So I entered this book thinking to myself "What would be the equivalent concept I would learn to Level 5 Leadership" or a Hedgehog or the Bus?" I am happy to say that anyone familar with these concepts and the way that Collins writes by showing "paired examples" of companies will be happy to learn and absorb new concepts like the 20 Mile March, Zoom in and Then Zoom Out, and the SMaC Recipe. All of which can be applied to your business and to your personal life. The book itself, researched and written during the past almost decade of world upheaval is relevant, pertinent, and a very strong offering from Collins and Hansen. I think it is now clear that when you take Jim Collins' total body of work that he is by far one of the most advanced and relevant business thinkers not just of our generation but of generations past as well.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780062120991
Author:
Collins, Jim
Publisher:
HarperBusiness
Author:
Hansen, Morten T.
Subject:
Management
Subject:
Business - General
Subject:
Business management
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 22.8 oz

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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All Used Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages HarperBusiness - English 9780062120991 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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