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Built to Last

Random notes from reading this book - I thought it was really good overall, but along w/everyone's criticism, thought some of it might not be too realistic. The spirit of the book however is dead on and I'm excited to try to implement some of the suggestions in my own job/department.

"Luck favors the persistent" - no duhh - but damn good quote, something to remember!

One of the main messages is around building clocks vs. telling time - build clocks, don't tell time - focus on the company and not the product or widget. Example: Sam Walton's store w/in a store and focus on operations.

Shift in thinking - United States example: the founders didn't think about who'd make a good president - rather they envisioned a country that will give us good presidents into the future.

Great quote

F. Scott Fitzgerald quote- "the test of intelligence is the ability to hold 2 opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function"


Having a core ideology is more important than the content - there is no "right ideology" - it is the existence of one that maters. Additionally, the alignment and authenticity is the key thing to that ideology.

Ideology/vision should be independent of external forces like market price or fads of the day.

Companies can evolve, but never outgrow their vision!

Key concept

You must preserve the core and stimulate progress at the same time!

Methods to preserve the core/stimulate progress

  1. Have a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)
  2. Create a cult-like culture
  3. Try lots and keep what works - experiment!
  4. Home grown management!
  5. Good enough never is.