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It is difficult to think that you might read a business book that can change your life, but this book might just do that - your business life, that is. I recently bought Collins' Good to Great, but saw this and decided to read it first. Having started a business in 2004 and a second, subsidiary business just over a year ago, I wanted to find ways in which to better react to what are difficult times, with recession and a whole lot of changes and avoid the temptation just to pack it all in and retire. Collins describes 5 steps or stages of decline: Hubris born of success; Undisciplined pursuit of more; Denial of risk and peril; Grasping for salvation and lastly, Capitulation to irrelevance or death. Even over a period of 10 years, I have seen my own business go through the first four stages and am only just beginning to see some green shoots of regeneration. The book, far from being doom and gloom, offers advice and positive steps, with good examples, for how to counter risks at every stage: obviously the further down the slipery slope you are, the harder it will be to recover, but not impossible and this is the point of the book - how to start to become great again. I found myself marking pages and returning to different sections of the book and using it it to plan, train and retrain myself and others into a different way of thinking. I have read and studied many books on business and management: while much is useful, even illuminating, few have the impact, for me at least, of this book. Counter-intuitively, a book about how companies fail, might just be the thing to ensure against failure, identify with ones own mistakes and make sure they will not be repeated. If you are in business and in tough times, I heartily recommend this book: if you are enjoying good times, you might just benefit also: a great read.
The message which the author was trying to convey was very clear in the first few pages itself. If you can understand the 5 stages and put yourself or your company to help yourself understand where it is and how it can improved it is definitely good.
However, I found the book not that interesting and dragging when you flip through the pages, especially when you've understood each stages.