Book Review                                      Online Exclusive


Great by Choice  

Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All  

by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, N.Y., 2011, 320 pp. with index, $29.99 hardcover


Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen is not only a book on leadership. It also shares interesting stories and adventures.

Collins is the author or coauthor of six top-selling books, including Good to Great and Built to Last. Hansen is a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Great by Choice began as a nine-year comparative historical analysis research project based on the question: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?

Collins and Hansen call the winning companies in their research 10Xers “because they built enterprises that beat their industry’s averages by at least 10 times.” The story that best captures 10Xers is that of two teams, led by the explorers Amundsen and Scott, who tried to reach the South Pole in 1911.

Concepts learned from this study are that 10Xers live with these three core behaviors: fanatic discipline, empirical creativity and productive paranoia.

A summary at the end of each chapter includes key points, unexpected findings and key questions. The book uses charts and graphs to compare “great companies and others in the same industry with the same or very similar opportunities during the same era as the 10X companies.”

Great by Choice’s format and content make it the perfect choice for doctoral studies on leadership because not only does it provide lessons for leaders, it also serves as the perfect model for writing a dissertation.

Reviewed by Lylia King, Texas regional manager, Walch Education, Cleburne, Texas


Give your feedback

Share this article

Order this issue