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Publisher's Summary

The New Question.
Ten years after the worldwide best seller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another ground-breaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten 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 not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today. With a team of more than 20 researchers, Collins and Hansen studied companies that rose to greatness - beating their industry indexes by a minimum of 10 times over 15 years - in environments characterized by big forces and rapid shifts that leaders could not predict or control. The research team then contrasted these "10X companies" to a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to achieve greatness in similarly extreme environments.

The New Findings.
The study results were full of provocative surprises. Such as:

  • The best leaders were not more risk taking, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons; they were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.
  • Innovation by itself turns out not to be the trump card in a chaotic and uncertain world; more important is the ability to scale innovation, to blend creativity with discipline.
  • 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.

The authors challenge conventional wisdom with thought-provoking, sticky, and supremely practical concepts. They include 10Xers; the 20 Mile March; Fire Bullets then Cannonballs; Leading above the Death Line; Zoom Out, Then Zoom In; and the SMaC Recipe. Finally, in the last chapter, Collins and Hansen present their most provocative and original analysis: defining, quantifying, and studying the role of luck.

The great companies and the leaders who built them were not luckier than the comparisons, but they did get a higher Return on Luck. 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, US

Critic Reviews

"Jim Collins has built a reputation as something of a myth buster... This book is recommended." ( Financial World, Dec 2011)
"Luck is not a strategy’ the authors conclude. What determines any organization’s success is how it prepares for both good and bad luck. They call this getting a ‘positive return’ on luck and, if Good to Great’s four million-plus sales are anything to go by, this idea will be embedded in corporate speak before you know it." ( Philip Delves Broughton, author of What They Teach you At Harvard Business School in Management Today
“If you want to understand what it takes to run a great company in any circumstances and you admire brilliant analysis and a clear, evocative writing style, then Great By Choice is worth five stars out of five.” ( James Scouller, People Management)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Love it thank you!!!

The clarity and simplicity of the book was its essence. The relativity of the case studies allowed the themes to flow from chapter 1 to chapter 7

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Rigorous and useful

I had read good to great and wasn't sure if there would be anything new. Definitely worth a read though. It has 5 mins of acknowledgements at the end which I suspect results in not many people get to the review page

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Great audio book. Every business leader should listen

This was a fantastic listen, bringing together the key elements of the book. Having Jim Collins narrate it himself and also add extra context to the written word plus the Q&A session at the end made it even more valuable.

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Amazing reading and evidence based learnings

Jim was very specific in his annunciation which was at times useful and at others a little strange but for me it's always much more enjoyable hearing the work directly from the author because they intone every word with the intended meaning that they wrote it with.

So many great learnings I'll be applying to my growing business - it's clear I need to work on my discipline and consistency, and not inflict so much change on my organisation.

I think the most exciting component is knowing that these extreme success is a choice, not luck or just something that happens to you. And there is a formula of key good practice activities that will help you navigate to that point: I also found the analogies really memorable
and very poignant.

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  • Joseph Di Stefano
  • 11-06-2012

It's a presentation rather than a reading

I was so looking forward to listening to this book. I have read a couple of other Jim Collins books and found them really well researched and well argued. He always presents confronting new ideas.

Jim's performance made it really hard for me to listen to. I found his delivery more like a presentation to a large audience in a large auditorium, rather than an intimate reading to one person, me. I tried hard to keep going but in the end couldn't.

I suppose I am going to have to go out and buy a paper book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 27-03-2012

Good content, horrendous narration

What did you like best about Great by Choice? What did you like least?

Best: The content is sound, and only just carries you through the ridiculously bad narration.

Least: Choppy, stilted and over the top narration. I read the other reviews talking about how bad the narration was, and thought, nah, I've never had a problem with any narration on any other audio book in the past, I'll be right. Big mistake.

Jim may write decent books, but he really needs to stick to what he is good at, and get professional narrators to read them. Here's an example

Would you be willing to try another one of Jim Collins’s performances?

Not in a million lifetimes.

Do you think Great by Choice needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes, read by someone else.

Any additional comments?

I would even suggest a second release of this book, read by somebody else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brendon
  • 24-05-2012

Jim's narrative was painful at first, but soon got

Any additional comments?

Jim's narrative was painful at first, but soon got over that - the content in this one is fantastic - his best so far!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Neale Blackwood
  • 24-10-2015

Great by audio

Any additional comments?

Great book that extends the previous research and looks at what is needed to thrive in a constantly changing world. Examples from different areas of life are used as well as business examples. Some interesting insights some are counter intuitive. Highly recommend.

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  • Henry
  • 27-07-2013

Well researched and a timely book for today.

What did you love best about Great by Choice?

Jim Collin's work is well researched and nicely argued. He has tried well to make sense of what makes companies successful and not so successful.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes. Being read by Jim Collin's himself, I think helped.

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  • Jonny
  • 04-02-2013

Another excellent addition to the "Great" family

I have read all the books by Jim Collins, and as an entrepreneur his offerings never fail to give me many great insights and new thinking in how to build and run my enterprises effectively and successfully. Highly recommended.

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  • ZOLTAN
  • 10-11-2012

You just can't beat Jim Collins by Jim Collins!

If you could sum up Great by Choice in three words, what would they be?

Passion, facts and discipline lead to greatness in business (9 words!).

What other book might you compare Great by Choice to and why?

All of Jim Collins and Tom Peters books!

Have you listened to any of Jim Collins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, just read them.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Perhaps energized is the right word.

Any additional comments?

If you're into business and?or leadership books then you should definitely listen to this one!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Danie Grobler
  • 08-10-2012

Informative, and valuable lessons in Business.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, It has great concepts in the book about business and what makes one great.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Great by Choice?

There is many stories to explain the concepts in the book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, you could stop listening.

Any additional comments?

Would advice it to anyone.

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  • Tom
  • 06-08-2012

Always enjoy Jim Collins' studies...

Where does Great by Choice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

pretty good.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Great by Choice?

the stories used to illustrate his key points are memorable.

Which scene was your favorite?

the 20-mile march concept

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the three key points as a whole is very sticky.

Any additional comments?

no

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  • Trevor
  • 16-04-2012

More great anecdotes

What made the experience of listening to Great by Choice the most enjoyable?

Anecdotes help me visualise the crux of the topic. Then the reference back to business decisions and performance outcomes gives depth/ application

If you’ve listened to books by Jim Collins and Morten T Hansen before, how does this one compare?

Good to great is still the best

Which scene was your favorite?

Race to the South Pole

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Nothing emotional, just lots of ideas to apply

Any additional comments?

Great body of work amongst his books - ideas about simplifying many actions down to principles.

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  • Desiree
  • 20-05-2012

Fantastic

This book was recommended to me and I ready enjoyed it and I wished it would never end. It just made everything clear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • AHMED H.MURAD
  • 07-02-2018

Great insight

Great book, but Jim is an awful and annoying narrator. He should stick to writing:)

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  • Mike Hayden
  • 11-02-2017

great content

The material is brilliant it seems accurate and practical.

I wasn't very keen on the narration the author's passion came across as shouting and sounding angry at times.

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  • Matthew Brady
  • 26-04-2016

Should of paid someone else to narrate

If someone else had narrated this book rather than the author it would have been more engaging.

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  • Brendan
  • 27-09-2014

excellent book

Would you consider the audio edition of Great by Choice to be better than the print version?

Jim collins narrating himself makes a massive difference

What other book might you compare Great by Choice to, and why?

The 7 habits of highly effective people. In this book, the key thing I learnt is that much of what happens within business is in ones control and not dependent on the wider economy.

What about Jim Collins’s performance did you like?

He read with passion and did a great job of reemphasising the key themes throughout. He also had evidence to back up his theories.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

An excellent book. Its back up by research. Were all looking to better our business but in this book jim shows that great companies are pretty methodical and ultimately its preparation that is essential for success. Were all faced with the same headaches and challenges in business but ultimately we can choose the path we take. Some companies in the same circumstances fail and some don't and Jim points out the traits which are common to both.

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  • Richard
  • 20-10-2013

Absolutely on the money

This is a fascinating, data backed view on how to run a business that challenges many of the widely held beliefs. It doesn't present itself as a 'how-to' guide, but many of the lessons that it brings will be useful to all readers.

As with all of this type of text, it is for the reader to take from it what they think will benefit their situation and style - many of the scenarios map pretty well to my own however - so much so, that all of my board had copies on their desk within days of me finishing it!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • G-Montoya
  • 12-10-2013

Not for me!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It is very dull and repetitive in parts. The core concepts are good and I am sure many people will find the book very interesting. I did not finish the book.

Could you see Great by Choice being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

No.

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  • Guy Arnold
  • 20-06-2013

Outrageously great information

Where does Great by Choice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Just under the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

What was one of the most memorable moments of Great by Choice?

The great way it puts forward simple common sense concepts in an easy to undertsand and implement manner

Any additional comments?

It's amazing that material of this quality is available at such a low price

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sebastian
  • 18-06-2013

a good book however a bit dull in places.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

i did enjoy the book however i feel there could be more substance needed to make it a very good book

What about Jim Collins’s performance did you like?

he was very enthusiastic however rather felt over enthusiastic in some places. However still very enjoyable.

Did Great by Choice inspire you to do anything?

To use empirical evidence more often.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful