Built to Last 2nd Ed.

Successful Habits of Visionary Companies: 10th Anniversary Edition

James C. Collins, Jerry I. Porras

Publisher: Random House, 2004, 342 pages

ISBN: 978-1-844-13584-4

Keywords: Strategy

Last modified: June 22, 2021, 8:29 p.m.

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 companies. 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 outstanding 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.

  • Preface to the Tenth Anniversary Edition
  • Preface to the First Edition
  • Introduction
  1. The Best of the Best
  2. Clock Building, Not Time Telling
  3. No "Tyranny of the OR" 
  4. More Than Profits
  5. Big Hairy Audacious Goals
  6. Cult-Like Cultures
  7. Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works
  8. Home-Grown Management
  9. Good Enough Never Is
  10. The End of the Beginning
  11. Building the Vision
  • Epilogue: Frequently Asked Questions


Built to Last

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Disappointing *** (3 out of 10)

Last modified: Aug. 8, 2021, 1:19 p.m.

This is a pretty meaningless book that talks about the need of objectives and values, without substantiating why these would make any company more sustainable than another. The examples are badly outdated, where a majority doesn't last anymore as they are described in the book (so much for their research and conclusions). It feels like a book written to make money on a previous bestseller or to fulfill a publishing contract.

Avoid, as you won't get anything useful from reading it.


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