How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give in

    By James C Collins

Decline can be avoided.

Decline can be detected.

Decline can be reversed.

Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?

In How the Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins' research project--more than four years in duration--uncovered five step-wise stages of decline:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success

Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril

Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation

Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.

Great companies can stumble, badly, and recover.

Every institution, no matter how great, is vulnerable to decline. There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do. But, as Collins' research emphasizes, some companies do indeed recover--in some cases, coming back even stronger--even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.

Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within our own hands. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our history, or even our staggering defeats along the way. As long as we never get entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.


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Jack was asked—along with author and editor-at-large Bo Burlingham, Inc. 's Leigh Buchanan, columnist Joel Spolsky, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh—to recommend books for Inc. Magazine's list of The Best Books for Business Owners of 2009. Read more

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Amazon does an interesting thing every year, putting their best selling books in each genre on the same page as their editors' pick so you can easily compare the two. I am sure that, were I an author, I'd hope to see my name on the bestsellers list. It would mean that I had not only done well financially for the year but, more importantly, that my book had made it into the hands of more readers—my ideas into the minds of more people. Read more

NEWS: Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year - The Longlist

Posted August 12, 2009, 8:40 PM with category of General Business
The longlist for the 2009 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award has been announced. The press release states that "The award is designed to highlight the book that provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, including management, finance, and economics. " The books on the longlist are: Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A Akerlof, Robert J Shiller Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People by Rob Goffee, Gareth Jones Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality and an Uncertain World by Stephen Green House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street By William D Cohan (Cohan won the award two years ago for his first book, The Last Tycoons. Read more

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I love running across other passionate business book readers. Riri Satria has some great reviews on his site rirsatria. com (here is the Google-translated link from Riri's native Indonesian to English). Read more

NEWS: The Might and Myth of Good To Great

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A growing wave of critics is taking shots at Jim Collins and his book, Good to Great, questioning the research and Collins' oft-followed path for corporate success. The arguments against Collins are nicely summarized in a Boston Globe article written by Drake Bennett titled "Luck Inc. " Jim Collins is quoted, pushing back on some of the counterclaims to his contribution to "business-success literature. Read more


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ISBN 9780061956461
Language English
Publish Date 09/05/2011
Publisher HarperCollins

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