Book Reviews, Innovation, Leadership, People

I finally read “Good To Great”

For the longest time, I’ve put off reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins but finally decided to pick it up.

Have you ever realized that your perception was completely wrong about something and felt like a fool?  Well..that’s what happened to me while reading this book.

I’ve always been wary of the book and the message it portrayed…at least the one I thought it portrayed.  Over the years, I’ve read many reviews (good & bad) of the book and heard many people talk about the book in a negative light. I allowed these negative sentiments about the book to keep from reading it.  I wish I’d picked the book up sooner…not because it delivers a resounding message but because it is much different than many of the critics have tried to make it.

Many critics claim the book trys to say ‘do these things and you’ll be successful’…I disagree.  That’s not what I got from the book at all. What I got out of this book was a affirmation of what I’ve been arguing for all along:

People are the most important asset an organization will ever have.

Many critics slam the book (and others like it) because many of the companies listed as ‘great’ aren’t that great these days.  The critics claim that this is ammunition against the book’s message…I disagree…sort of. I agree that many of the organizations outlined in this book are now ‘not so great’, but that isn’t proof that the message of this book is wrong.  Perhaps these organizations lost their way.  Perhaps they stopped focusing on the people and started focusing on the competition or maybe they started worrying about how investors would see them.

I like this book and its message.  I do think the idea of ‘do these things and you’ll be great’ is ridiculous but that shouldn’t stop an organization from looking at how other companies have been successful.

This book, and the many others like it, tend to oversimplify what companies and/or people have done to be successful.  There isn’t one solution that will fit every organization.  There isn’t a ‘recipe’ for success.  You can’t emulate your competitor, you’ve got to be true to yourself and your mission.

That said, the book was a good read and had some very interesting insights.  I may not agree with the entire premise of the book but i think there are some very interesting topics covered.

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About Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a data scientist, technology consultant and entrepreneur with an interest in using data and technology to solve problems. When not building cool things, Eric can be found outside with his camera(s) taking photographs of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
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