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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All: 5 Hardcover – Illustrated, 11 October 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 804 ratings

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  • Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All: 5
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  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't: 1
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  • Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies: 2
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Product details

  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062120999
  • Customer reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 804 ratings

Product description


"A sensible, well-timed and precisely targeted message for companies shaken by macroeconomic crises"--Financial Times

"Collins and Hansen draw some interesting and counterintuitive conclusions from their research....far from a dry work of social science. Mr. Collins has a way with words, not least with metaphor."--Wall Street Journal

Entrepreneurs and business leaders may find the concepts in this book useful for making choices to increase their odds of building a great company.--Booklist

From the Back Cover

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 twenty researchers, Collins and Hansen studied companies that rose to greatness--beating their industry indexes by a minimum of ten times over fifteen 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 chance.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 388 reviews
Wally Bock
5.0 out of 5 stars I learn something new every time I return to this book
7 February 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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14 people found this helpful
Owen Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Will you choose greatness?
15 October 2011 - Published on Amazon.com
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320 people found this helpful
J. E. N.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, fascinating conclusions
14 November 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
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Danny Ellis
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, but repetitive and just like his previous books.
21 April 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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6 people found this helpful
Steven F. Deaton
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for small or large businesses... GREAT book!
25 October 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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2 people found this helpful