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Book Review Good To Great Companies – Chapter 1 Summary

4 October 2009 2 Comments

good2greatFor one of my projects in a management course, I had to pick out a book and read and then provide an overall summary to at the end of the course and so I thought I would share with every my thoughts about this book. It is called Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. Now each summary are based on notes I have taken in a essay like writing format to make the transition for the final paper a lot easier and so here is my chapter 1 summary.

My initial impression of this book has made me somewhat interested in management. Especially when you start your book out with something interesting and though provoking, in which Jim Collins says, “Good is the enemy of great”. Which I found interesting and throughout this chapter I would came back to that statement several times, as I read this first chapter.

As for the premise of this chapter, it is a introductory chapter about what this book is about in which good companies become great. Some of the questions that Jim Collins will answer or attempt to answer is Can a good company become a great company and, if so, how? On the other hand, is the disease of “just being good” incurable? Of course, looking at that question and reading the chapter it would seem that is the primary question that will try to be answered in later chapters. He gives great examples right away of good companies who become great companies such as Walgreens, in which it started outperforming such companies as Coca-Cola and General Electric. Therefore, the general idea of this book or rather the project is to see what examples though could find that match a specific good-to-great pattern with very specific details and trends. This is done in a 30-year time span in which 15 years of mediocre business and profitability a transition point and then 15 years of explosive profitability and productivity.

To imagine the scope of this project, Jim Collins would mention the size of data collect as such, “We read and systematically coded nearly 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts, and created 384 million bytes of computer data. Of course, Collins would go on to say that putting together the data with 21-member team was a challenge as it was process of going back and forth, developing and testing, revising, building, something going wrong and having to be rebuilt again. However, they did happen to find a lot of interesting things while going through that data, such as find out that good-to-great leaders got the right people instead of trying out new strategies, and getting the wrong people out in order to succeed. Another interesting fact that good-to-great leader had a bit of faith in their business as well of which I find interesting because it would seem that faith in your business, your product and those who work for you would very strong in the business world.

To end my summary I think this little snippet of insight might give a good idea what to expect as you read further in this book.”That good is the enemy of great is not just a business problem. It is a human problem.”In a way, it would seem that management has two sides to it but which side to pick is what makes this a book a interesting to read.


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