This classic book focuses on the core issue of how great companies achieve long-term sustained performance. It is a sequel to the author’s earlier book, Built to Last. Good to Great is based on research that compares a defined set of ‘great companies” (including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck) with a comparison set of so-called “good companies” companies that failed to make the leap to greatness. Although General Electric subsequently fell from grace and now is in revitalization, the analysis and sample of companies selected as examples of greatness are reasonable and the overall analysis generally valid.
The book makes a contribution by identifying some of the “dos” and “don’t’s” for companies desiring to achieve greatness or what we have termed “business champions.” The book also provides some constructs (including some from Built to Last) to assist the journey from good to great, including the notion of a “BHAG,” or “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” The book also includes an ”Epilogue” section that addresses frequently asked questions about the book (such as “Why did only eleven companies make the cut” as good to great examples, and (though worded slightly differently) “is a sample of eleven companies statistically significant?” Another question is: “I am an entrepreneur running a small company, how do these ideas apply to me?” The book also includes the criteria for selection of a Good to Great company. Accordingly, a great deal of content is included in the book in an attempt to make the book as useful as possible to the reader, which is frankly all you can ask of an author.