By: Jim Collins
This book takes a thoroughly researched look into what causes companies that were once great to collapse. The author of a corollary work entitled Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, Collins outlines the five stages that typically mark the decline of once-great companies:
1. Hubris Born of Success
2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More
3. Denial of Risk and Peril
4. Grasping for Salvation
5. Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death
Using companies such as Circuit City and Hewlett-Packard as case studies, Collins uses his methodical and scientific style to come to the conclusion that some conventional wisdom as to why companies fail (such as complacency and stagnation) is just plain wrong. While stagnation is never good, more problems seem to be caused by companies that try to achieve a level of growth that is unsustainable, ignoring road signs that point to the danger of total collapse.
This book sheds a lot of light on the state of crisis many of today’s companies find themselves in. It is a satisfying read, in that one can rest assured that the author has done his homework and is basing his findings on a solid body of research. It is also inspiring to the extent that some companies have fallen as far as Stage 4 and still been able to pull themselves out of the mire. At the end of the book, Collins quotes Winston Churchill in a speech given during World War II: “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” That sense of determination seems to make all the difference.
How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In
Author: Jim Collins
Published: 2009 by HarperCollins