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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All | [Jim Collins, Morten T Hansen]

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

Ten years after the worldwide best seller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another ground-breaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.
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Publisher's Summary

The New Question.
Ten years after the worldwide best seller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another ground-breaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.

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 20 researchers, Collins and Hansen studied companies that rose to greatness - beating their industry indexes by a minimum of 10 times over 15 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 by chance.

©2011 Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers, US

What the Critics Say

"Jim Collins has built a reputation as something of a myth buster... This book is recommended." (Financial World, Dec 2011)

"Luck is not a strategy' the authors conclude. What determines any organization's success is how it prepares for both good and bad luck. They call this getting a 'positive return' on luck and, if Good to Great's four million-plus sales are anything to go by, this idea will be embedded in corporate speak before you know it." (Philip Delves Broughton, author of What They Teach you At Harvard Business School in Management Today

"If you want to understand what it takes to run a great company in any circumstances and you admire brilliant analysis and a clear, evocative writing style, then Great By Choice is worth five stars out of five." (James Scouller, People Management)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (45 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sebastian huddersfield, United Kingdom 18/06/2013
    Sebastian huddersfield, United Kingdom 18/06/2013 Member Since 2012

    I love non fiction and the ability to listen to audiobooks is incredible :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a good book however a bit dull in places."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    i did enjoy the book however i feel there could be more substance needed to make it a very good book


    What about Jim Collins’s performance did you like?

    he was very enthusiastic however rather felt over enthusiastic in some places. However still very enjoyable.


    Did Great by Choice inspire you to do anything?

    To use empirical evidence more often.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Desiree Hungerford, United Kingdom 20/05/2012
    Desiree Hungerford, United Kingdom 20/05/2012 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic"

    This book was recommended to me and I ready enjoyed it and I wished it would never end. It just made everything clear.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan United Kingdom 27/09/2014
    Brendan United Kingdom 27/09/2014 Member Since 2011
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    "excellent book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Great by Choice to be better than the print version?

    Jim collins narrating himself makes a massive difference


    What other book might you compare Great by Choice to, and why?

    The 7 habits of highly effective people. In this book, the key thing I learnt is that much of what happens within business is in ones control and not dependent on the wider economy.


    What about Jim Collins’s performance did you like?

    He read with passion and did a great job of reemphasising the key themes throughout. He also had evidence to back up his theories.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent book. Its back up by research. Were all looking to better our business but in this book jim shows that great companies are pretty methodical and ultimately its preparation that is essential for success. Were all faced with the same headaches and challenges in business but ultimately we can choose the path we take. Some companies in the same circumstances fail and some don't and Jim points out the traits which are common to both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Sheffield, United Kingdom 20/10/2013
    Richard Sheffield, United Kingdom 20/10/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "Absolutely on the money"

    This is a fascinating, data backed view on how to run a business that challenges many of the widely held beliefs. It doesn't present itself as a 'how-to' guide, but many of the lessons that it brings will be useful to all readers.

    As with all of this type of text, it is for the reader to take from it what they think will benefit their situation and style - many of the scenarios map pretty well to my own however - so much so, that all of my board had copies on their desk within days of me finishing it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G-Montoya Everywhere! 12/10/2013
    G-Montoya Everywhere! 12/10/2013 Member Since 2011

    G-man Montoya

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for me!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It is very dull and repetitive in parts. The core concepts are good and I am sure many people will find the book very interesting. I did not finish the book.


    Could you see Great by Choice being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Exeter, United Kingdom 20/06/2013
    Mr Exeter, United Kingdom 20/06/2013 Member Since 2012

    guyarnold

    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "Outrageously great information"
    Where does Great by Choice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Just under the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Great by Choice?

    The great way it puts forward simple common sense concepts in an easy to undertsand and implement manner


    Any additional comments?

    It's amazing that material of this quality is available at such a low price

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
Sort by:
  • Henry
    Chatswood, Australia
    27/07/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well researched and a timely book for today."
    What did you love best about Great by Choice?

    Jim Collin's work is well researched and nicely argued. He has tried well to make sense of what makes companies successful and not so successful.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes. Being read by Jim Collin's himself, I think helped.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonny
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    04/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another excellent addition to the "Great" family"

    I have read all the books by Jim Collins, and as an entrepreneur his offerings never fail to give me many great insights and new thinking in how to build and run my enterprises effectively and successfully. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ZOLTAN
    London, United Kingdom
    10/11/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You just can't beat Jim Collins by Jim Collins!"
    If you could sum up Great by Choice in three words, what would they be?

    Passion, facts and discipline lead to greatness in business (9 words!).


    What other book might you compare Great by Choice to and why?

    All of Jim Collins and Tom Peters books!


    Have you listened to any of Jim Collins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, just read them.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Perhaps energized is the right word.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're into business and?or leadership books then you should definitely listen to this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Danie Grobler
    South Africa
    08/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative, and valuable lessons in Business."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, It has great concepts in the book about business and what makes one great.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Great by Choice?

    There is many stories to explain the concepts in the book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, you could stop listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Would advice it to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    Durban, South Africa
    06/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Always enjoy Jim Collins' studies..."
    Where does Great by Choice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    pretty good.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Great by Choice?

    the stories used to illustrate his key points are memorable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the 20-mile march concept


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the three key points as a whole is very sticky.


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joseph Di Stefano
    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
    11/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's a presentation rather than a reading"

    I was so looking forward to listening to this book. I have read a couple of other Jim Collins books and found them really well researched and well argued. He always presents confronting new ideas.

    Jim's performance made it really hard for me to listen to. I found his delivery more like a presentation to a large audience in a large auditorium, rather than an intimate reading to one person, me. I tried hard to keep going but in the end couldn't.

    I suppose I am going to have to go out and buy a paper book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brendon
    Porirua, New Zealand
    24/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Jim's narrative was painful at first, but soon got"
    Any additional comments?

    Jim's narrative was painful at first, but soon got over that - the content in this one is fantastic - his best so far!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trevor
    Mt Pleasant, Australia
    16/04/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More great anecdotes"
    What made the experience of listening to Great by Choice the most enjoyable?

    Anecdotes help me visualise the crux of the topic. Then the reference back to business decisions and performance outcomes gives depth/ application


    If you’ve listened to books by Jim Collins and Morten T Hansen before, how does this one compare?

    Good to great is still the best


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Race to the South Pole


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Nothing emotional, just lots of ideas to apply


    Any additional comments?

    Great body of work amongst his books - ideas about simplifying many actions down to principles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Terrigal, Australia
    27/03/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good content, horrendous narration"
    What did you like best about Great by Choice? What did you like least?

    Best: The content is sound, and only just carries you through the ridiculously bad narration.

    Least: Choppy, stilted and over the top narration. I read the other reviews talking about how bad the narration was, and thought, nah, I've never had a problem with any narration on any other audio book in the past, I'll be right. Big mistake.

    Jim may write decent books, but he really needs to stick to what he is good at, and get professional narrators to read them. Here's an example


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jim Collins’s performances?

    Not in a million lifetimes.


    Do you think Great by Choice needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes, read by someone else.


    Any additional comments?

    I would even suggest a second release of this book, read by somebody else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

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