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"This is not a book about charismatic visionary leaders. It is not about visionary product concepts or visionary products or visionary market insights. Nor is it about just having a corporate vision. This is a book about something far more important, enduring, and substantial. This is a book about visionary companies." So write Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in this groundbreaking book that shatters myths, provides new insights, and gives practical guidance to those who would like to build landmark companies that stand the test of time.

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies -- they have an average age of nearly one hundred years and have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of fifteen since 1926 -- and studied each company 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 other companies?"

What separates General Electric, 3M, Merck, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Walt Disney, and Philip Morris from their rivals? How, for example, did Procter & Gamble, which began life substantially behind rival Colgate, eventually prevail as the premier institution in its industry? How was Motorola able to move from a humble battery repair business into integrated circuits and cellular communications, while Zenith never became dominant in anything other than TVs? How did Boeing unseat McDonnell Douglas as the world's best commercial aircraft company -- what did Boeing have that McDonnell Douglas lacked?

By answering such questions, Collins and Porras go beyond the incessant barrage of management buzzwords and fads of the day to discover timeless qualities that have consistently distinguished out-standing companies. They also provide inspiration to all executives and entrepreneurs by destroying the false but widely accepted idea that only charismatic visionary leaders can build visionary companies.

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 twenty-first century and beyond.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062119087
List price: $12.99
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Very well written and compelling. One of my favorites. There is tremendous credibility with a well documented research study. I hold this book in the same regard as Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel. The 12 myths about companies are great. Very basic and easy to internalize about your business. You will learn the characteristic of visionary companies. A must read for any CEO or business person.more
This is on the reading list I have of best all-time business books. It's thoughtful but not on par with "In Search of Excellence" or Collin's more recent "Good to Great." Their approach is valid for picking up a list of excellent performers and comparison firms that had the same opportunity. I'm not sure these firms will continue to last (Wal-Mart is already faltering), but the authors point out it's a matter of continuing the habits. Regarding the "genius of And" I've observed that certain leaders assume this means they should try to have it all. One former co-CEO of my current firm often spoke about and did this. There is some genius in going down one path or another. Their 5 methods are: 1. Big, Hairy Audacious Goals, 2. Cult-like Cultures, 3. Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works, 4. Home-Grown Management, 5. Good Enough Never Is. Other important points: the value of trying things (bias for action and appreciating the value of failures). Quoting Richard Carlton of 3M: "We must possess a two-fisted generating and testing [process] for ideas... Every idea evolved should have a chance to prove its worth, and this true for two reasons: 1) if it is good, we want it; 2) if it is not good, we will have purchased our insurance and peace of mind when we have proved it impractical."more
An innovative business book. Collins - a business school professor - decided to do an experiment using the scientific method to identify using stock performance companies that were majorly outperforming peers, then comparing them to sister companies or competitors who were performing on par with the market. From that comparison, Collins identified-through extensive, exhaustive research and interviews-the differences in the company pairings. Regardless of the findings, the model of approach and study is worth reading the book. However, the findings are very intriguing and definitely unexpected. Compelling.more
Did not quite complete this book - I guess after reading good to great, this book is like a repeat of the same (though it came first). But this book, I will give credit for some other powerful concepts such as the BHAG.more
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Reviews

Very well written and compelling. One of my favorites. There is tremendous credibility with a well documented research study. I hold this book in the same regard as Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel. The 12 myths about companies are great. Very basic and easy to internalize about your business. You will learn the characteristic of visionary companies. A must read for any CEO or business person.more
This is on the reading list I have of best all-time business books. It's thoughtful but not on par with "In Search of Excellence" or Collin's more recent "Good to Great." Their approach is valid for picking up a list of excellent performers and comparison firms that had the same opportunity. I'm not sure these firms will continue to last (Wal-Mart is already faltering), but the authors point out it's a matter of continuing the habits. Regarding the "genius of And" I've observed that certain leaders assume this means they should try to have it all. One former co-CEO of my current firm often spoke about and did this. There is some genius in going down one path or another. Their 5 methods are: 1. Big, Hairy Audacious Goals, 2. Cult-like Cultures, 3. Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works, 4. Home-Grown Management, 5. Good Enough Never Is. Other important points: the value of trying things (bias for action and appreciating the value of failures). Quoting Richard Carlton of 3M: "We must possess a two-fisted generating and testing [process] for ideas... Every idea evolved should have a chance to prove its worth, and this true for two reasons: 1) if it is good, we want it; 2) if it is not good, we will have purchased our insurance and peace of mind when we have proved it impractical."more
An innovative business book. Collins - a business school professor - decided to do an experiment using the scientific method to identify using stock performance companies that were majorly outperforming peers, then comparing them to sister companies or competitors who were performing on par with the market. From that comparison, Collins identified-through extensive, exhaustive research and interviews-the differences in the company pairings. Regardless of the findings, the model of approach and study is worth reading the book. However, the findings are very intriguing and definitely unexpected. Compelling.more
Did not quite complete this book - I guess after reading good to great, this book is like a repeat of the same (though it came first). But this book, I will give credit for some other powerful concepts such as the BHAG.more
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