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Rhetorical Analysis of Jim Collins book Good to Great
Rodolfo Sanchez
University of Texas at El Paso

Author Note
Rodolfo Sanchez, majoring in International Business and Finance at The University of
Texas at El Paso


The paper will demonstrate the rhetorical analysis of an article based on a book called
Good to Great by the author Jim Collins. The analysis is done by using the factors implied in
the rhetorical analysis called, ethos, pathos and logos. It will compare how the author of the book
used them and how they affect the audience perception of the article.

This paper will define the meaning of a rhetorical analysis, more specifically the
rhetorical analysis of an article based on a book called Good to Great by Jim Collins. The book
talks and discuss the importance of methods used by Jim Collins to improve the performance of a
company, becoming a good to great company, but not only used by him but used by the biggest
entrepreneurs and successful chief executive officers of this past 25 years. We will not only
analyze this article, we will use the rhetorical analysis methods and characteristics such as
proving the factors of ethos, pathos and logos, and I will show and demonstrate how the article
persuades the audience to believe what Jim is trying to explain, and teach by the exaggerated use
of pathos, disproving the logos thought by the audience, and increasing the ethos of his article.
Jim Collins, the author, is really extroverted, in a way that he exclaims really loud his
points of view, and his writing. Through the article he emphasizes the failure of companies and
compares it with the success of others using dramatic words, words that tend to make us think
and feel the success or failure. In the book Good to Great, Mr. Collins describes how the
companies used several methods to succeed as time passes by, and he tries to persuade us to
think in the way this successful people thought by describing the things we need to do, and
things we dont. Failure and mediocre are such strong words, and he uses them quite a lot
throughout the article of Good to Great, for he really wants the audience to understand his point
by the usage of pathos and logos. But not only has he wanted the audience to follow the steps of
big successful entrepreneurs and leaders, he gives us the facts and data in the article to increase
his credibility. We will see how Mr. Collins explains his ethos, encourage his pathos and
describes logos according to him and not to his audience. He really describes how he did the
research into detail and thats how he gains all the credibility possible.

Lets begin with ethos. Ethos or ethical appeals refer to the writers credibility, or in this
case Mr. Collins credibility, and how the audience is expected to believe him according to his
experience, research and education, or just his ethos. Mr. Collins is a teacher of enduring great
companies; he explains how they grow, how they attain superior performance and how good
companies become great companies. He is the author of six books that have sold in total more
than ten million copies worldwide. Specifically, in this article based on his book, Good to
Great, he has done a research over 25 years in over 1,435 companies. Examine their
performance over 40 years, has found the companies that became great and explains how they
did it and how the audience can do it by following his key points and methods.
Now that we have covered the authors credibility and character lets review pathos and
how he really influences the audience feelings and emotions. Pathos is the persuasion method
that uses the emotions and feeling to gain approval of a point, in this case, Mr. Collins point,
and he really tries to throw his word out there by using pathos. Lets examine how he does that;
on the article, success and failure is mentioned not only a few times but repetitively since the
purpose of the article is based on the persuasion of the audience to seek success using the
methods that big CEOs have used. Here we can see how Mr. Collins describes and compares
success and failure And fear doesn't drive changebut it does perpetuate mediocrity. Nor can
acquisitions provide a stimulus for greatness: Two mediocrities never make one great company
(Collins 2001). Those are the words of Mr. Collins describing the process in which a company
makes the leap from good to great. We can definitively tell how he embraces his speaking and
how he encourages pathos in just this sentence quite well dont we? The author wants the
audience to feel how success feels like, and he really wants the audience to ask for more, that is
how he keeps his costumers, students and colleagues close to him, for he uses wisely pathos
through his whole book, and article.
Logos is next, and by logos we refer to logical appeals and the use of reason to make an
argument. Mr. Collins idea of logos is quite self-explanatory, but not as we think it is. He
explains how everyone thinks how the most successful CEOs get to the position they have, and
what they do in order to achieve success. But he implies our reasoning wrong, and that is the plot
twist, Mr. Collins strongly mentions how the normal audience is wrong by thinking the logical
way, and he tries to persuade us by following his logic. Normally we would think that successful
CEOs are quite presumptuous or that they dont care about spending money since they have a lot
of it, and here Jim Collins explains how they really think, how the biggest companies in the
market became successful and not only that, but how they were built to last. Here we see how he
sees the outsider way of thinking, and how Mr. Collins defines his logos: Its a silly analogy,
but then our conventional way of looking at change is no less silly. Everyone looks for the
miracle moment when change happens. But ask the good-to-great executives when change
happened. They cannot pinpoint a single key event that exemplified their successful transition
(Collins 2001). Through the text there are more and more analogies and logical statements that
he provides, looking for the best outcome of the reader, and to think in a way the most
successful think.
We have analyzed the main points the author Mr. Jim Collins has made through the
article, we have covered the three elements of a rhetorical analysis and how Mr. Collins uses
them in the whole article. Coming to the conclusion, Mr. Collins has achieved his audience to
follow the steps provided by him, and the research he has done in the past 25 years, he expects
from his audience to keep looking for more examples and to use the key points he provided the
audience with. He successfully achieved the goal he wanted, which was making the audience
aware of how the most successful CEOs did the transition from good to great, and makes the
audience follow the methods he used and how to use them.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. Fast Company