Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't

By Jim Collins

The coauthor of the bestselling "Built to Last" now presents a blueprint for transforming good companies into great ones. Charts & graphs throughout.


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Book Information

Publisher: Harper Business
Publish Date: 10/16/2001
Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 9780066620992
ISBN-10: 0066620996
Language: English

What We're Saying

December 26, 2007

Carol Hymowitz over at the WSJ shared her list of business books for holiday reading (you may need to log in). On it, were these books: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams. This is what we've all been talking about in the past few years and even more so since the rise of Wikipedia. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

October 08, 2007

Last week, The Wall Street Journal announced their Top Small Workplaces 2007 winners. The Journal asked the folks who run those places what books they would recommend to others trying to create first-class workplaces. Here the alphabetical list of their selections. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 28, 2007

In conjunction with their Business Book of The Year Award, The Financial Times is asking the question: "What is the best book of all time? " They solicited suggestions from a wide variety of business executives, including GE's Jeff Immelt and Ebay's Meg Whitman. The editorial staff then created a short list using the same criterea as their yearly awards. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

August 10, 2007

We took some time off this summer from our podcasts. I am kicking off the fall season early with an interview I have been wanting to do for some time. Chris Zook is the author of three books, his most recent being Unstoppable. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

July 16, 2007

"Good to Great" by Jim Collins, HarperCollins, 320 Pages, $27. 50, Hardcover, October 2001, ISBN 9780066620992 Note: This Jack Covert Selects is from October of 2001. Not only has the book Good to Great emerged as a classic and a "breakthrough," cross-genre sensation, but the phrase itself has entered business jargon. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 18, 2007

U. S. News and World Report has a huge special report on the Best Business Books. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 14, 2007

How do you peel a banana? If you're like me, you peel it the "wrong" way. That's the way we're taught. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 19, 2007

There is no shortage of books written to explain the success of companies. In Search of Excellence and Good to Great are the best known for using this technique. There are not many books that do the opposite—look at why companies failed. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 27, 2007

This has potential to start a bit of dialogue. There's a recently published book out there refuting some of the big business books such as Good to Great and In Search of Excellence. Phil argues that he has. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 20, 2008

Michael Hyatt, President & CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has updated his ten favorite business books. They are: Focus: The Future Of Your Company Depends On It by Al Ries, HarperBusiness Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, Penguin Books Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 04, 2008

I received the autumn issue of Michigan Tech Magazine (a publication of my alma mater) and it contains a Q&A with MTU President Glenn Mroz. The Q that matters for the audience here is: For alumni, if you could recommend one book to them, what would it be and why? I guess it would be Good To Great by Jim Collins. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 05, 2008

I posted last week on the amazing number of blog posts that have been appearing lately with lists of business books. The latest comes from BusinessJournalism. org, a site that is a part of National Center For Business Journalism at Arizona State University. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

July 30, 2008

Steven Levitt on his Freakonomics blog takes a shot at Good To Great and the recent performance of GTG standouts Fannie Mae, Circuit City, and Wells Fargo. A purchase of either Fannie Mae or Circuit City at the time of the book's publication would have netted you an 80% loss in your investment today. Not so good. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 30, 2008

In 1994, Jim Collins co-authored the landmark title Built to Last followed by Good to Great in 2001. This month's special edition of Fortune magazine features a piece by Collins. A technology pundit told Collins that, "'We live in an era when nothing can be built to last. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

March 21, 2008

The following is my letter to the editors of Fast Company Magazine on Elizabeth Spiers recent column in their publication. You can read Spiers column here. Kate wrote about it earlier in the week, and I couldn't let it pass either. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 03, 2009


By Sally Haldorson

I received a copy of Bas Bleu’s catalog via snailmail the other day. Bas Bleu (means “blue stocking,” the antiquated label used for an educated woman) is a specialty book and gift strictly mail-order company whose motto is: “Champion of the Odd Little Book…and your source for inspired gifts and accessories for readers. ” It surprised me to get this catalog since it seems like the days of hard copy catalogs are far behind us (JCPenney's just announced they will discontinue their Big Book). READ FULL DESCRIPTION

August 19, 2009

The Management Myth: Why the "Experts" Keep Getting It Wrong by Matthew Stewart, W. W. Norton & Company, 352 Pages, $27. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

June 15, 2009

MBA recommendations

By Porchlight

Brandon Mendelson has been asking a bunch of experts and professionals, what the top 5 MBA books are and posting them at his blog. There's a lot of titles in the results (approximately 80! ), which goes to show that many people have different opinions about what the best books are. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 27, 2009

Channel Insider recently posted a slide show of 21 Must Read Books for Business Success. It was compiled by asking "successful solution providers what books have both inspired them and shaped their approach to making their businesses a success. " You can get detailed descriptions of the books by viewing the slide show, but the list itself, with links, below. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 24, 2009

A growing wave of critics is taking shots at Jim Collins and his book, Good to Great, questioning the research and Collins' oft-followed path for corporate success. The arguments against Collins are nicely summarized in a Boston Globe article written by Drake Bennett titled "Luck Inc. " Jim Collins is quoted, pushing back on some of the counterclaims to his contribution to "business-success literature. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 14, 2009

Inspire! : Why Customers Come Back by Jim Champy, FT Press, 192 Pages, $22. 99 Hardcover, April 2009, ISBN 9780131361881 Some of the most successful business books use the research method to find the standouts in business, and then dig into those organizations to see what makes them so successful. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 08, 2009

Inc. Magazine is celebrating 30 years of publication this month and as a part of their coverage have put together "The Business Owner's Bookshelf" - 30 books people running small businesses should read. Here is the list in its entirety: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter Bernstein (1996) The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, by Guy Kawasaki (2004) The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson (2006) Brand New: How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers' Trust from Wedgwood to Dell, by Nancy F. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

October 14, 2011

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, HarperBusiness, 320 Pages, $29. 99 Hardcover, October 2011, ISBN 9780062120991 Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, which has gone on to sell well over 4 million copies, and we liked it enough to pick it as one of our 100 best business books of all time, has written, with Morten Hansen, another seminal book. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

January 10, 2012

The time has come! Drum roll, please. . READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

"Some of the key concepts discerned in the study," comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people."

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

About the Author

Jim Collins is author or coauthor of six books that have sold in total more than ten million copies worldwide, including the bestsellers Good to Great , Built to Last , and How the Mighty Fall.

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