Why has Amazon been so successful? Much of it has to do with Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder, whose unique combination of character traits and business strategy have driven Amazon to the top of the online retail world.
Richard Brandt charts Bezos's rise from computer nerd to world- changing entrepreneur. His success can be credited to his forward-looking insights and ruthless business sense. Brandt explains:
Through interviews with Amazon employees, competitors, and observers, Brandt has deciphered how Bezos makes decisions. The story of Amazon's ongoing evolution is a case study in how to reinvent an entire industry, and one that anyone in business today ignores at their peril.
Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies -- they have an average age of nearly one hundred years and have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of fifteen since 1926 -- and studied each company in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day -- as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from other companies?"
What separates General Electric, 3M, Merck, Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Walt Disney, and Philip Morris from their rivals? How, for example, did Procter & Gamble, which began life substantially behind rival Colgate, eventually prevail as the premier institution in its industry? How was Motorola able to move from a humble battery repair business into integrated circuits and cellular communications, while Zenith never became dominant in anything other than TVs? How did Boeing unseat McDonnell Douglas as the world's best commercial aircraft company -- what did Boeing have that McDonnell Douglas lacked?
By answering such questions, Collins and Porras go beyond the incessant barrage of management buzzwords and fads of the day to discover timeless qualities that have consistently distinguished out-standing companies. They also provide inspiration to all executives and entrepreneurs by destroying the false but widely accepted idea that only charismatic visionary leaders can build visionary companies.
Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the twenty-first century and beyond.
“Quietly absorbing . . . the slow pileup of events takes on unxpected, if mild urgency . . . wholly original and convincing.”
— New York Times Book Review
Luther Albright is a builder of dams, a man whose greatest pride (besides his family) is running his hands over the true planes of the house he built himself and knowing that he’s constructed something that will shield and shelter them from harm.
A relatively minor incident -- an earthquake that shakes his Sacramento home -- reveals fault lines and cracks in the facade of his family. His teenage son’s behavior becomes increasingly bizarre and threatening, his devoted wife more distant, and then a dam of Luther’s design comes under investigation for structural flaws exposed by the tremors. In the midst of his heartbreaking family dissolution, Luther must battle against the need to withhold his emotions and push his family even farther away.
Nightmarish meanings begin to shout at Luther from the most innocent of places as debut novelist MacKenzie Bezos tightens her net of psychological suspense around the reader with bravura skill. In the spirit of Rosellen Brown and Alice McDermott, this is a harrowing portrait of an ordinary man who finds himself tested and strives not to be found wanting.