Good to Great

By Jim Collins,

Book cover of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Book description

Can a good company become a great one? If so, how?

After a five-year research project, Jim Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organisation to make the leap from good to great…

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Why read it?

11 authors picked Good to Great as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I like the redemptive quality of this book. Moving from mediocre, merely good companies to great ones is not a function of organizational DNA but of holding fast to certain traits and practices.

Collins and his research team’s rigorous analysis provides a detailed analysis of the key factors that propelled 11 companies from so-so to exceptional. He begins with leadership, “Level 5 Leadership,” which squares with my own approach to organizational change, which happens first with the top executive team.

The eight key factors that he identifies are essential building blocks for any organization wanting to transition from business as…

This book keeps companies focused on what’s important.

It walks through how to hire for character, and ways to think about hiring the right kind of leaders who can develop skills (rather than the other way around), and building a company from that strong foundation. For pricing and building pricing power, it’s important to know what your company’s core capabilities are and to stay hyper-focused on them.

As leaders challenge themselves to innovate, the book emphasizes using technology to execute your core capabilities more effectively, without chasing the technology (e.g. AI) and losing sight of your core value.

One of the best business books ever on the things a business and its executives have to do to reach the pinnacle of a quality business. Note that while they don’t all stay there, there are elements a company must do to be great. When those elements are no longer followed, the companies do decline but this book outlines the keys on which to focus.

It’s as “simple” as the author’s points, “Good is the enemy of great. And this is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.” And “Few people attain great lives,…

I believe this is absolutely the very best book about leadership ever written. 

If you are only going to read one book about leadership this is it. Every aspiring leader should read it and keep a copy close at hand. The book begins with the profound statement: “Good is the enemy of great.”   Only the very best most disciplined leaders have the will to aspire to greatness. 

Based on extensive research, Collins shares how leaders with discipline create great organizations that achieve phenomenal results. It isn’t easy, but the book provides a road map for leaders with the will and…

I believe it’s important for aspiring artists of any ilk to realize that the arts are a business. You may be anticipating a career in education, where you’ll need negotiating, supervisory, and budget skills, or as a freelance artist where you’ll need to understand contracts and accounting, and so on.

Good to Great provides excellent insights to the world of big business successes which you can use to further your own career.

From Rich's list on supercharging your arts career.

This book shows what it takes to transition from an average (good) organization to becoming a great organization.  With specific data and analysis of organizations that have successfully made this transition, Jim Collins masterfully illustrates the culture, character, leadership, and management that was necessary to become “great”! What I loved in Jim Collin’s assessment, is that the CEO’s who successfully made this transition were not rabble-rouser leaders with flamboyant personalities. They were strategic leaders with a vision that everyone identified with, who created a culture defined by the values of their organization, and who persevered through all challenges and adversity. 

From Robert's list on leading with character.

The rigorous depth of Jim Collins’s research is impressive. What’s even more impressive is how he makes his research findings so interesting. I recommend this book mainly because of Collins’s concept of the Level 5 Leader: the self-effacing yet courageous captain with “personal humility and professional will,” who prioritizes results over ego. The story of Darwin Smith, mild-mannered CEO of Kimberly-Clark who led the transformation of that hidebound paper company from merely good to truly great, is both inspiring and instructive.

From Jocelyn's list on leadership for nerdy introverts.

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.


Good to Great studies some of the greatest success stories in business with the aim of identifying patterns. The author lays out concrete patterns for the readers with the hope that they can strive to replicate these patterns to create long-lasting successful companies for themselves. In building our Growth Marketing agency, Deviate Labs, my co-founder and I bear these lessons in mind daily.

From Raymond's list on becoming a well-rounded entrepreneur.

Perhaps the business book of all business books so chances are you have already read it. So why do I even list it here? Two reasons: This is your sign to finally go for it in case you have in fact not read it yet. And you will learn how to ‘build your own flywheel’ and that propels your chances of turning into an admired brand substantially.  

From Fabian's list on on creating an admired brand.

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