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Great by Choice | [Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen]

Great by Choice

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.
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Publisher's Summary

The new question: Ten years after the worldwide best seller 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.

©2011 Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    K. Donath LaFayette, NY USA 11-03-11
    K. Donath LaFayette, NY USA 11-03-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Real Insight!!"

    How many times have you heard popular business authors say 'break all the rules', 'innovate or die', 'act now!' and 'be bold!'? All this sounds good, but is it true? Mr. Collins book brings a realistic, pragmatic and actionable view of what makes a business successful - amid all the hype. His book focuses on three success factors: fanatic discipline, empirical creativity and practical paranoia. Each of these factors grounded in significant research. For example, with the passing of Steve Jobs, there's lots of talk about the importance of innovation. Mr. Collins work puts innovation in proper perspective by showing that companies need a certain level of innovation in their companies to survive, but companies that innovated a lot, tended to get into trouble. This is where the book cuts through the hype and puts innovation into a realistic context.

    Who is this book for? Here's the amazing thing about this book: you can apply these principles to a major corporation, non-profit, church, or even to yourself! If you're a leader of any size organization, you'll walk away from this book with stuff you can start doing on Monday. This book continues Mr. Collins outstanding series of books: Built to Last, Good to Great - everyone of them a home run.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Moody, AL, United States 10-18-11
    Simon Moody, AL, United States 10-18-11 Member Since 2009

    An Information Systems Analyst involved in setting up new businesses.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly good"

    Whether you are an entrepreneur, investor or a manager this book provides useful information in a thought provoking and approachable way.

    The book discusses how a range of different companies succeeded in turbulent business climates, and relates the lessons learned to other ventures such as scaling Everest and reaching the South Pole. It is immensely useful not only in improving how you manage, but also in helping you identify well managed companies (hence why I suggest this read for investors as well).

    While I class buying this book as research, it has also been one of the most entertaining and engaging books I have heard this year. The only down side for me was the narration which is a little choppy, however listening to the book at 2x speed alleviated this.

    Needless to say I heartily recommend this book to anyone wanting to quantify what makes some companies super successful. Anyone with even a passing interest in this field will find its stories hugely interesting ind insightful.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Shubin 11-23-11
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    "Roughly read by Collins"

    Collins should not have tried to read this.
    It is odd how bad the read is: Stilted, odd mid-sentence pauses, generally disconnected.
    The book itself is good. The reading of it was distracting.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Beavercreek, OH, United States 11-26-11
    Craig Beavercreek, OH, United States 11-26-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good content...please hire a narrator."

    Although a little redundant, the content was good. I think the read would have been better if performed by a different narrator.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Knoxville, TN, United States 11-26-11
    Mary Knoxville, TN, United States 11-26-11 Member Since 2010
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    "an unendurable narration"

    I know Jim Collins is a brilliant guy, and I enjoyed reading his book Good to Great. I don't know why he was chosen to read this book, however, because his performance is unendurable. I don't know whether I can get past chapter 2.

    If you're interested in purchasing, please listen to the sound sample to see whether you are comfortable with his reading style.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn lawrenceville, NJ, United States 03-11-12
    Glenn lawrenceville, NJ, United States 03-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Going to Read it. Could Not Get Past Narration"
    What did you like best about Great by Choice? What did you like least?

    I like Jim Collins Books. Actually my favorite is


    How could the performance have been better?

    Jim Collins may be great in person but his over-articulation of words had me listening to that more than what he was saying. It became distracting. I tried 3 times and still could not get past the 2nd chapter.


    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norrene United States 03-05-12
    Norrene United States 03-05-12
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    "Can't get passed the narrator"
    What disappointed you about Great by Choice?

    I think this is a great book and I was excited to listen to it, but the narration on this book is so over the top that it kills it for me.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen again?

    Don't know.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Either toning down the narration or finding a professional reader.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Great by Choice?

    I can't cut anything, I'm only 30 mins. into it and the narration of the book is making it painful for me to finish it.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri PHOENIX, AZ, United States 12-12-11
    Teri PHOENIX, AZ, United States 12-12-11

    TDsweetE

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    "Please re-record this audio book."
    Would you listen to Great by Choice again? Why?

    No. I would purchase the book and read it to myself. The book has some good concepts, and the stories are easy to relate to. The author's narration is simply intolerable.


    How could the performance have been better?

    It seems to be the first time that his author has read his own book. The narration is only slightly tolerable on 2x speed. This books needs to be re-recorded by a professional reader.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHERYL Brea, CA, United States 02-03-12
    CHERYL Brea, CA, United States 02-03-12
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    "Decent Content; Aggravating Narration"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The content is decent and the research methods seem solid. Although there wasn't a great deal surprising or innovative, I thought it was a very good summary of what conscious efforts and decisions are required for a great company to be built and maintained. I especially like the idea of taking active responsible for your (or your company's) destiny, rather than being a passive actor or acceptor. The heroes in this book made their own luck. What really ruined this audiobook for me to the point of me not wanting to finish listening was the the narrator. This is the worst reading of a book I have encountered thus far. The enunciation was so exaggerated and speaking so stilted, and at times so laboriously slow that it just made me frustrated and annoyed. So I would recommend this book, but not in audio form.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen again?

    Probably not if they continue with this narrator


    How could the performance have been better?

    See above. Speak in NORMAL English, more conversationally, in a normal pace. It's laudible to try to pronounce your consonants (many Americans have virtually stopped this, in the age of the


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marty East Thetford, VT, United States 01-06-12
    Marty East Thetford, VT, United States 01-06-12 Member Since 2008

    Marty Jacobs consults in the areas of strategic planning, board governance, leadership development, and community engagement.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Path Between Chaos and Order"

    This book is based on research about organizations that do well despite a constantly changing environment. Since that latter phrase applies to all of us, there is something for everyone in this book. It’s chock of ideas for how organizations and their leaders can ride the wave of uncertainty that seems to be the only constant in organizational life these days. All these ideas come together in what is referred to in the Art of Hosting as “the chaordic path” – the path between chaos and order. An organization that can effectively navigate that path will develop strength and clarity, and the successful journey requires a leader (or leaders) who can discern the nuances between how much order and how much chaos will illuminate the path. It’s a tricky process, and this book highlights this.

    That said, I have one caveat to throw in. This book was written by men about men, so it did not always resonate with me. In particular, when the authors describe the characteristics of 10xers, the term they use to describe leaders of these successful organizations, I had to ask, “Whose definition of success? Do these guys have a life?” It seemed to me that the only measurement of success was the bottom line. In this day and age, I truly believe that a more accurate measure of success is the triple bottom line. Organizations can no longer focus solely on profit to the exclusion of social and environmental impact.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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