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Built to Last [Book Summary]

This is one of my favourite business books of all time. Unfortunately I didn't yet finish the book summary, and only wrote down the first section - 12 shattered myths.

BUILT TO LAST - Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Twelve Shattered Myths

  1. Myth 1: It takes a great idea to start a great company.  Many visionary companies started without a great idea.

  2. Myth 2: Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders.  In fact, that is absolutely not required, and can be detrimental to a company's long-term prospects.

  3. Myth 3: The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximise profits.  In fact, visionary companies are guided by a core ideology: core values and a sense of purpose.

  4. Myth 4: Visionary companies share a common subset of "correct" core values.  In reality, core values vary substantially - e.g. Philip Morris' core value of the right to personal freedom of choice (to smoke, or buy whatever one wants).

  5. Myth 5: The only constant is change.  In reality, a visionary company religiously preserves its core ideology.

  6. Myth 6: Blue-chip companies play it safe.  In fact, they often make BHAGs and bet-the-pot on big projects (e.g. Boeing).

  7. Myth 7: Visionary companies are great places to work, for everyone.  In reality, only those who "fit" extremely well with the core ideology and demanding standards of a visionary company will find it a great place to work.

  8. Myth 8: Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning.  In reality, it is more of a Darwinian process: let's just try a lot of stuff and keep what works.

  9. Myth 9: Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change.  In fact, visionary companies very rarely hire outside CEOs.  They foster home-grown management.

  10. Myth 10: The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition.  In reality, visionary companies focus primarily on beating themselves.

  11. Myth 11: You can't have your cake and eat it too.  In reality you can.  Visionary companies rid themselves of the "tyranny of the OR" and embrace the "genius of the AND".

  12. Myth 12: Companies become visionary primarily through "vision statements".  Writing a vision statement is just one of thousands of steps.