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

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

Written by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Narrated by Jim Collins


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

Written by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Narrated by Jim Collins

ratings:
4.5/5 (98 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 11, 2011
ISBN:
9780062121011
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

The new question: Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? In Great by Choice, Collins and his colleague, Morten T. 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 Collins's prior work by its focus on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today.

The new findings:

  • The best leaders were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.
  • 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.

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 by chance.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 11, 2011
ISBN:
9780062121011
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great companies tick, and a Socratic advisor to leaders in the business and social sectors. Having invested more than a quarter-century in rigorous research, he has authored or coauthored six books that have sold in total more than 10 million copies worldwide. They include Good to Great, Built to Last, How the Mighty Fall, and Great by Choice. Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to his work in the business sector, Jim has a passion for learning and teaching in the social sectors, including education, healthcare, government, faith-based organizations, social ventures, and cause-driven nonprofits. In 2012 and 2013, he had the honor to serve a two-year appointment as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 2017, Forbes selected Jim as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. Jim has been an avid rock climber for more than forty years and has completed single-day ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite Valley. Learn more about Jim and his concepts at his website, where you’ll find articles, videos, and useful tools. jimcollins.com

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Reviews

What people think about Great by Choice

4.7
98 ratings / 15 Reviews
What did you think?
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Solid perspective on what makes for success. Good planning, experience, willing to try new things without throwing away the proven things. Specific Methodical and Consistent plan. Gunshots and then cannon balls.
  • (5/5)
    Love these books! Simple ideas that make sense and have been backed by research.
  • (5/5)
    Very easy to understand. Has great content on how to improve yourself and business.
  • (5/5)
    The entrepreneur’s guide to maneuvering various situations in the work space and life. The authors did an incredible job of writing about the importance of resilience and understanding and used incredible examples of what it means to be great by choice
  • (5/5)
    You get out of life what you put into it.

    Like so many books in this category of improvement, the bottom line is that you must exercise disciplined action in order to yield consistent results. The author's exhaustive research overturns my personal belief regarding innovation. We will change the way our company operates because of their data.
    Thank you Morten and James.
  • (4/5)
    I love the one page it gave me a sense that when you endeavor into anything you do so from the beginning with the intention for it to withstand any probability.
  • (5/5)
    one of the best books I have read. It articulates the obvious. The world​ makes more sense after listening to this book.
  • (4/5)
    The audio book is basically an excellent case study on how companies that are focused, disciplined and remain "paranoid" as the author talks about is what keeps them around for the long haul. Excellent book useful for small business to corporations.
  • (5/5)
    I have read/listened to three books written by Jim Collins all of which were amazing in content with clear examples. This book, in particular, presents ideas that are useful not only for those who seek to start and lead successful businesses but also for those who want to improve their personal lives. The seven chapters in this book explain the necessity of being creatively paranoid all the while prepared for the strike of calamities, the role of luck and how to turn the bad luck into good results, and the importance of starting small before shooting for the stars. Jim Collins explains very well why it is valuable to set minimum limits to meet and maximum limits not to exceed in order to maintain a healthy approach towards success. I have also enjoyed Jim Collins' engaging way of reading his books that appeals to the listener.
  • (5/5)
    Great book that extends the previous research and looks at what is needed to thrive in a constantly changing world. Examples from different areas of life are used as well as business examples. Some interesting insights some are counter intuitive. Highly recommend. I listened to the audio book.
  • (5/5)
    What is the role of luck in business, leadership, and life? Comparing similar companies in especially chaotic and uncertain industries (health care, airline, computers, etc.) Collins and Hansen’s research indicates that more than just luck separates the winners and losers. Rather, the winners – labeled 10X companies (those companies that outperformed the industry index by at least 10 times) – exhibited fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia. 10X companies relied on a durable SMaC (Specific, Methodical, and Consistent) recipe – “operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula.” All companies, organizations, and people have a mix of good and bad luck; based on Collins and Hansen’s research, 10Xers put themselves in a position to get the best possible return on luck. An insightful, challenging and relevant work – A
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Insightful book. Learnt alot from it.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    Great insights to the demands put on modern leadership.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    You should absolutely read this is you're the director of a division or even the manager of a team. It'll provide you with great real-life examples you can use to inspire. (It's particularly exciting if your company is one of the ones studied.)The work behind the book is great. This is not fluffy. It's actually based on data and statistics, and I loved that.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Since bursting on the business book scene with Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Jim Collins has been a fixture at the top of the business best seller list. His research-based approach to explaining success has struck a chord in the management corridors. I first became aware of Collins after being assigned to read Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by my boss. We were attempting to turn a corner with our small company and he hoped this would give us the insight we needed to be successful.I remember watching a presentation by Collins explain the methodology of sorting through the data to find the companies to study. He explained they first looked for a question that really interested him. I can understand the theory. Without a really good question to sustain him and his team of researchers, they wouldn't have the interest to spend several years seeking the answer. And he found a really good puzzle this time. I think this is perhaps his best work.The latest research undertaking was centered around the question: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty , even chaos, and others do not? He and his team began by looking for enterprises who outperformed their industry averages by at least 10 times. Dubbed the "10Xers", they looked into what caused them to be successful when other, very similar organizations in the same environment, did not. From there, they dug into the lessons they can learn and found similar stories to describe the behavior.He begins be relating the story of the race to the South Pole by Amundsen and Scott. If you are unfamiliar with this story, the analogy alone is worth the read. Amundsen trained for the mission to the South Pole by living with eskimos, experimenting in eating sources of meat available in the Antarctic, learning to travel in snow with dog sleds and other similar preparations. Scott, on the other hand, decided to use ponies without checking see how they would hold up in the harsh conditions (they don't), investing in new, untested technology - motor sledges (the engines cracked within days) and packing lightly on the supplies (1 ton / 17 men compared to Amundsen's 3 tons / 5 men). Amundsen reach the pole first and returned safely with his men before winter set back in. Scott's team, reduced to pulling their sleds by hand, reached the pole over a month later. The entire team died, starving to death two miles from their supply cache.Powerful stories like this are employed throughout the book, each graphically emphasizing the traits of the 10Xer companies. Those traits include:The 20 Mile MarchFire Bullets, Then CannonballsLeading above the Death LineSMaC (Specific, Methodical, and Consistent), andReturn on LuckEach lesson is something that a company leadership has control over. They can replicate the results of these hyper-successful companies, if they choose. That is the key point: Companies can choose to be great. Yes, there is some luck involved, but Collins proves it isn't a matter of getting a lucky break, but what one DOES with any luck, good or bad.I can't possibly do this book justice in the few words of this review. I recommend reading this book more highly than any other book to date. The lessons he teaches are profound and simple. Every step is in reach. I believe this book to be one of the most useful of all the business books I have read. It is applicable to many cases beyond business as well. He discusses other applications to nonbusiness organizations as well. This book should be on a list to be reviewed annually by every leader of an organization. It should be discussed in staff meetings and the concepts implemented everywhere. If you only buy one book on changing an organization, make it this one.

    1 person found this helpful