(c) 2005-2007 Oliver Bonten
This is one of the few business books that I found really interesting to read. The authors try to identify the factors that make great companies great. The approach of the authors is to build a list of pairs of "great" companies and "not so great" competitors, to compare those pairs on a lot of terms, and to find out where the "great" companies have more in common with other "great" companies in different businesses than with their direct "not so great" competitors.
"Great" and "not so great" companies are identified mainly by an opinion poll among CEOs of large companies, and with the exception of Sony vs. Kenwood, the survey focusses on American companies. (I believe a similar survey has been done with European companies later.)
I believe that the results are not surprising, but give a solid empirical foundation to "gut feeling" that certain things are right or wrong to do.
The survey is from 1995, and in some cases, companies have moved far away from the status described in the book. Pfizer, for example, is one of the "not so great" companies in the book; this judgement may have been reversed since the release of Viagra. Both IBM and HP now no longer have "Home grown management". And so on. But still, it is a very interesting book and I believe the results make a lot of sense.
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