The Success Secret of Jim “Good to Great” Collins

The Economist scratches its head at management guru Jim Collins’ success and comes to the conclusion it’s partly that he says sensible things, and partly that he writes well. But there is also something less rational:

HOW to explain the enduring popularity of Jim Collins? The business writer’s most recent book, “Good to Great”, has been on the New York Times’s list of bestselling non-fiction since its publication in the autumn of 2001. By May this year, HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, had sold more than 1.5m copies in hardback—breaking a record set by the 1982 classic, “In Search of Excellence”, by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. Mr Collins’s previous book, “Built to Last”, published in 1994, sold more than 1m copies and has been translated into 13 languages. Mr Collins is probably the most widely read business writer in the world.

…the real reasons for the success of “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” are probably less rational. Mr Collins’s books soothe the deepest anxieties of managers. “Built to Last” insists that great companies are built as much by trial and error as by brilliant strategic planning, while “Good to Great” implies that with sufficient discipline anyone can transform their organisation.