Built to Last: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Built to Last containing key details about the book.

What is Built to Last About?

Built to Last is a good read for anyone who wants to create a truly great company. The author and his research team have studied the world's most enduring and successful companies over the past 25 years. This book is the distillation of those findings.

Who is the author of Built to Last?

James C. "Jim" Collins is an American researcher, author, speaker, and consultant focused on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth.

How long is Built to Last?

  • Print length: 368 pages

What genre is Built to Last?

Business, Nonfiction, Leadership

What are the main takeaways and summary points of Built To Last?

  • Takeaway 1: Visionary companies are able to achieve enduring success by staying true to their core ideologies (e.g. values, purpose, etc). Their core ideologies drive them more than profits. They are so clear about what they stand for and what they’re trying to achieve that they simply don’t have room for those unable to fit their standards.
  • Takeaway 2: Instead of focusing on a single product or a single leader, visionary companies built themselves into organizations that constantly produce great ideas and high-caliber leaders. They are almost cult-like – new recruits either thrive or leave.
  • Takeaway 3: Visionary companies are relentless in their efforts to continually improve their products and business. They create concrete mechanisms that encourage people to innovate and grow. They also use big hairy audacious goals to stimulate growth. Comfort is not the objective in a visionary company. Visionary companies install powerful mechanisms to obliterate complacency and thereby stimulate change and improvement before the external world demands it. Put simply, they don’t just talk – they take concrete actions to implement their goals and values.
  • Takeaway 4: Visionary companies stimulate evolutionary progress by encouraging experimentation, trial and error, and opportunism. What looks in retrospect like brilliant foresight was often the result of “Let’s just try a lot of stuff and keep what works". Their manifesto: “When in doubt, vary, change, solve the problem, seize the opportunity, experiment, try something new (consistent, of course, with the core ideology)—even if you can’t predict precisely how things will turn out. Do something. If one thing fails, try another. Fix. Try. Do. Adjust. Move. Act. No matter what, don’t sit still.”

What are good quotes from Built to Last?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

“One of the most important steps you can take in building a visionary company is not an action, but a shift in perspective.”

"it is better to understand who you are than where you are going—for where you are going will almost certainly change.”

“The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.”

“Indeed, if there is anyone “secret” to an enduring great company, it is the ability to manage continuity and change—a discipline that must be consciously practiced, even by the most visionary of companies.”

― Jim Collins, Built to Last

What are the chapters in Built to Last?

Chapter 1: The Best of the Best
Chapter 2: Clock Building, Not Time Telling
Chapter 3: More Than Profits
Chapter 4: Preserve the Core/ Stimulate Progress
Chapter 5: Big Hairy Audacious Goals
Chapter 6: Cult-Like Cultures
Chapter 7: Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep What Works
Chapter 8: Home-Grown Management
Chapter 9: Good Enough Never Is
Chapter 10: The End of the Beginning
Chapter 11: Building the Vision

* Key sources: LibraryThing, Amazon, Wikipedia

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an impact-driven entrepreneur, author, and investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has led him to found Elevate Society and other impact-driven ventures.

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