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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

“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.

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Jim Collins

James C. "Jim" Collins (born 1958) is an American researcher, author, speaker and consultant focused on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth.
Collins received a BS in Mathematical Sciences at Stanford University, graduating in 1980.

He then spent 18 months in McKinsey & Co.'s San Francisco office. He was exposed to what may have been an influential project for him – two partners at McKinsey, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, were running a McKinsey research project that later turned into the best-seller In Search of Excellence.[5]

After his time at McKinsey, he returned to study at Stanford, graduating with an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1983.

He then worked as a product manager for Hewlett-Packard for 18 months, before quitting to help manage his wife's ascending triathlon career.[6]

Collins began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business in 1988, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992.

He published his first book, Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company co-authored with William C. Lazier, in 1992.

He published his first best-seller Built To Last, co-authored with Jerry Poras, in 1994.

In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts research and teaches executives from the corporate and social sectors[7]. During that time, Collins has served as a senior executive at CNN International, and also worked with social sector organizations, such as: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Leadership Network of Churches, the American Association of K-12 School Superintendents, and the United States Marine Corps.[citation needed]

Collins is married to former triathlete and 1985 Ironman World Championship winner, Joanne Ernst.
Collins has authored or co-authored six books based on his research, including the classics:

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Good to Great
Great by Choice
How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In
Built to Last has been a fixture on the Business Week best-seller list for more than six years, and has been translated into 25 languages.

Good to Great, "about the factors common to those few companies ... to sustain remarkable success for a substantial period," attained long-running positions on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best-seller lists, has sold over 2.5 million hardcover copies, and has been translated into 32 languages.[citation needed]

His most recent book is Great by Choice.

Before that he wrote How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In.

Collins frequently contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Fortune and other publications

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