Book Review: Good to Great

I like Jim Collins. I don’t really know him personally, but I like the way he writes and I like the way his analytical minds works. He has a talent for taking highly complex financial analysis and making it palatable for the average reader.

In his book, Good to Great, he examines US-based companies that have outperformed their peers by several multiples. He uses stock performance criteria to isolate these outlier companies that sometimes outperform their direct competitors by 18x!

I will leave all of the gory details to his deft explanation, but what ends up happening is that he finds a dozen or so companies that have significantly outperformed not only the market, but also all of their direct peers.

The punchline of the research is that all of these companies have a few things in common. What the reader learns is that all of these companies found out what their “hedgehog concept” was and also understood the importance of having the right people “on the bus.”

Again, I will let Mr. Collins do the explaining, but suffice it to say that I have not had a week go by since I read this book where I have not found an appropriate occassion to reference its concepts. I have also found that nearly every business leader I have mentioned it to has also read it.

So, I will stop short of saying that you may be the only person in our business not to have read this crucial volume, but I will say that I would strongly encourage anyone involved in any business venture to read this book. Collins has come across some (seemingly) universal truths that can help shape and structure the way we conduct business going forward.

This is the ultimate tool for using the wisdom of others for your own benefit. He has basically found the best businesses of the last 20 years, interviewed their leaders, and written down all of the things they said in common. Read it, absorb it, and apply it. It will serve you well.

– Duke

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