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

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,143 ratings

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From the Publisher

At HarperCollins, authors and their work are at the center of everything we do. We are proud to provide our authors with unprecedented editorial excellence, marketing reach, long-standing connections with booksellers, and insight into reader and consumer behavior. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins also uses digital technology to create unique reading experiences and expand the reach of our authors.

HarperCollins was founded by brothers James and John Harper in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers. In 1987, as Harper & Row, it was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide book group was formed following News Corporation's 1990 acquisition of the British publisher William Collins & Sons. Founded in 1819, William Collins & Sons published a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis.

The house of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown, HarperCollins has a long and rich history that reaches back to the early nineteenth century and offers our publishing team a depth of experience.

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“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.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper Business; Illustrated edition (Oct. 11 2011)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062120999
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062120991
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 544 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 2.41 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,143 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,143 global ratings

Top reviews from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on February 5, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Need Help
By Amazon Customer on February 5, 2020

I ordered 4 copies of this book for my senior leadership team. It is an excellent book. However, all 4 of our copies exhibit the same issue - a misprint of multiple pages.

Who can I speak to in order to have the replaced?
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Reviewed in Canada on July 6, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

M. Chaffer
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking analysis of why some listed companies out-perform their competitors.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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The Salary Coach
5.0 out of 5 stars 8/10: Valuable extension of the concepts presented in Good to Great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2018
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5 people found this helpful
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V Ghezzi
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a good reading, simple and full of examples
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 24, 2016
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Jon Busby
5.0 out of 5 stars Another hit by Jim Collins - although shorter than usual for his books.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 3, 2017
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3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2020
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