Synopses & Reviews
HarperBusiness Essentials Note from Jim Collins and Jerry Porras,
authors of "Built to Last" As we sat down to write this author's note for the HarperBusiness Essentials edition, "Built to Last" celebrated its sixth year on the Business Week bestseller list. Far beyond what we would have dared to imagine, "Built to Last" has lived up to its own name.
Ironically, we can claim no credit for the title. Creativity often sprouts from frustration, and our editors in 1994 were frustrated in the extreme. We had inserted a clause into our publishing contract that gave us final right of approval, and as the publication date neared, we just kept vetoing titles. In all, something on the order of 127 different options fell by the wayside, from "You are the Competition" to "Research Results on Visionary Companies."
The situation finally escalated to the executive editor for HarperCollins, who went home for the weekend and returned on Monday morning with an idea. "Here," he said, throwing a three by five note card on our editor's desk, "see if they'll go for this." On it he'd written the simple phrase "Built to Last."
And we had our title.
In retrospect, "Built to Last" is a great title, but it is also the wrong title. Not from a marketing standpoint (don't get us wrong, we'd still keep it), but from the standpoint of what this book is really all about. "Built to Last," it turns out, is not fundamentally about building to last. It is about building something that is worthy of lasting -- about building a company of such intrinsic excellence that the world would lose something important if that organization ceased to exist. Implicit on every page is a simple question: Why on Earthwould you settle for creating something mediocre that does little more than make money, when you can create something outstanding that makes a lasting contribution as well? And in the end, as the evidence from our research showed, those who make a lasting contribution make more money over the long run anyway.
If we were rewriting "Built to Last" today, we would not overturn any of the basic concepts; they are timeless principles. We certainly know more about great companies than we did in 1994, and there is certainly much that we could add, but our faith in the fundamental findings has not faded. Indeed, we are more convinced than ever that building an enduring great company -- one that is truly worthy of lasting -- is a noble cause.
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
March 31, 2002
Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each 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 the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?"
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 21st century and beyond.
Find out what makes the truly exceptional companies different from other companies. ""Built to Last" . . . is one of the most eye-opening business studies since "In Search of Excellence."--"USA Today."
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 Week
bestseller 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 Review
and 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.