Book Review

Built to Last by Jim Collins

built to lastIn a recent visit to Landmark, I purchased an audio book titled “Built to Last“. At the time of purchase, I didn’t realize it was the Audio version of the famous book by James C. Collins & Jerry I. Porras. Anyway, after listening to 6 hours plus of the audio I think it is one of the best purchases I ever made. The Audiobook turned out to be a more convenient format than the paper book because I could listen to it in portions every day while I drove my car. The best use of the traffic jams that are now becoming common in Chennai.

This book is a classic and reviewed many times on the Internet over the last decade, so I will keep mine very brief. The book is a result of six years of research on what makes great companies great. It does this by identifying 18 “visionary” companies and compares them systematically with “successful-but-second-rank” companies over nearly 5 decades or more of data. I wonder with the power of Internet and access to more data, what the authors could have done more (I am yet to read their sequel Good to Great). The book shatters the core myth that visionary companies must start with a great product and be lead by charismatic leaders. The book talks about these main concepts:

  • Preserve the core, stimulate the progress
  • Other than your core purpose to exist, everything else can change – have to change
  • Follow Darwin Survival Theory, try multiple things and quickly kill the non-prospective one’s
  • Have BHA (Big Harry Audacious) Goals one after the other to keep the motivation and juices in people flowing

This is a must-read textbook for anyone running a company or managing a sizeable team in an organization.