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American Poems: Books: Great by Choice CD
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Great by Choice CD

Great by Choice CD
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  • List Price: $39.99
  • Buy New: $19.12
  • as of 8/20/2014 21:21 EDT details
  • You Save: $20.87 (52%)
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New (22) Used (13) from $14.94
  • Seller:bookshop2
  • Sales Rank:107,671
  • Format:Audiobook, Unabridged
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Audio CD
  • Number Of Items:8
  • Edition:Unabridged
  • Pages:8
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):0.5
  • Dimensions (in):5.7 x 5.2 x 0.8
  • Publication Date:October 11, 2011
  • ISBN:0062121022
  • EAN:9780062121028
  • ASIN:0062121022
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days

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Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis

The new question: Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? In Great by Choice, Collins and his colleague, Morten T. 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 on the type of unstable environments faced by leaders today.

The new findings:

  • The best leaders were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid.
  • 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.

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.

Amazon.com Review

Jim Collins on the Writing Process

When I first embarked on a career that required writing, I devoured dozens of books about the process of writing. I soon realized that each writer has weird tricks and idiosyncratic methods. Some wrote late at night, in the tranquil bubble of solitude created by a sleeping world, while others preferred first morning light. Some cranked out three pages a day, workmanlike, whereas others worked in extended bursts followed by catatonic exhaustion. Some preferred the monastic discipline of facing cinder-block walls, while others preferred soaring views.

I quickly learned that I had to discover my own methods. Most useful, I realized that I have different brains at different times of day. In the morning, I have a creative brain; in the evening, I have a critical brain. If I try to edit in the morning, I’m too creative, and if I try to create in the evening, I’m too critical. So, I go at writing like a two piston machine: create in the morning, edit in the evening, create in the morning, edit in the evening…

Yet all writers seem to agree on one point: writing well is desperately difficult, and it never gets easier. It’s like running: if you push your limits, you can become a faster runner, but you will always suffer. In nonfiction, writing is thinking; if I can’t make the words work, that means I don’t know yet what I think. Sometimes after toiling in a quagmire for dozens (or hundreds) of hours I throw the whole effort into the wastebasket and start with a blank page. When I sheepishly shared this wastebasket strategy with the great management writer Peter Drucker, he made me feel much better when he exclaimed, “Ah, that is immense progress!”

The final months of completing Great by Choice required seven days a week effort, with numerous all-nighters. I had naively hoped after writing Good to Great that perhaps I had learned enough about writing that this work might not require descending deep into the dark cave of despair. Alas, the cave of darkness is the only path to producing the best work; there is no easy path, no shorter path, no path of less suffering. Winston Churchill once said that writing a book goes through five phases. In phase one, it is a novelty or a toy; by phase five, it is a tyrant ruling your life, and just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public. And so, exiting the caving blinking in the sunlight, we’ve killed the monster and hereby fling. We love this book, and have great passion about sharing it with the world—making all the suffering worthwhile.


A Q&A with Morten T. Hansen

Q: How did you and Jim develop ideas together during the research?

Hansen: During our hundreds of research meetings—what we called “chimposiums” (as when two curious chimps get together), Jim and I probed the data, exchanged views, and debated vigorously. We didn't always agree, in which case we did some more analysis to get to the main findings we report in Great by Choice.

Q: Why did Great by Choice take nine years of effort?

Hansen: When Jim and I started out some nine years ago, we did not anticipate that it would take us this long, nor did we know what the results would be. We followed a simple principle—carry out the absolutely best research we could possibly do, no matter how long.

Q: Did you find what you expected, or surprises?

Hansen: The way we did the research was to explore why some companies attained great performance over the long-run while others did not. We did not start with any preconceived ideas and hypotheses about what made the difference. We let the data speak. What we found, and what we report in the book, surprised us a great deal. A few times we scratched our heads because we were so surprised, but that's what the data revealed.

Q: Did you have fun?

Hansen: Analyzing the data, debating, and arriving at some really interesting insights was a great deal of fun. It created joy in my life. It may not be everyone's idea of having a good time, but Jim and I always looked forward to our chimposiums. I hope you will enjoy Great by Choice as much as Jim and I enjoyed the research process!


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