My Favorite Quotes from “Good to Great”

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I recently finished reading Good to Great by Jim Collins, and found the following quotes inspirational / worth recalling:

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant” (page 42)

“The old adage ‘People are your most important asset’ is wrong. People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” (page 64)

“ ‘You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end- which you can never afford to lose- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.’ ” (page 85)

“Life is unfair- sometimes to our advantage, sometimes to our disadvantage. We will all experience disappointments and crushing events somewhere along the way, setbacks for which there is no ‘reason,’ no one to blame… What separates people… is not the presence or absence of difficulty, but how they deal with the inevitable difficulties of life.” (pages 85–86)

Summary of the call-out block on page 98: your goal shouldn’t be “be the best,” but rather understand what you can be the best at.

Summary of the call-out block on page 100: being “good” isn’t good enough. Find what you can be the great at, and do that.

Summary of the call-out block on page 134: if you can’t be the best at something, don’t do it.

“Like the Daytona 500, the primary variable in winning is not the car, but the driver and his team. Not that the car is unimportant, but it is secondary.” (page 156)

“Great companies respond with thoughtfulness and creativity, driven by a compulsion to turn unrealized potential into results; mediocre companies react and lurch about, motivated by fear of being left behind.” (page 162)

“ ‘Crawl, walk, run’ can be a very effective approach, even during times of rapid and radical technological change.” (page 163)

“Good to great comes about by a cumulative process- step by step, action by action, decision by decision, turn by turn of the flywheel — that adds up to sustained and spectacular results.

Yet to read media accounts of the companies, you might draw an entirely different conclusion. Often, the media does not cover a company until the flywheel is already turning at a thousand rotations per minute. This entirely skews our perception of how such transformations happen, making it seem as if they jumped right to breakthrough as some sort of an overnight metamorphosis.” (page 165)

Summary of top half of page 168: Transformations are different from the perspective of those looking at it from the outside vs those going through it (on the inside). For example, when people see a chicken’s egg hatch, it’s a miracle; but for the chicken, it’s just another step in the process of birth.

Summary of call-out box on page 209: find a career that you are passionate about; if you are satisfied with being “good enough,” you’re in the wrong career.

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