Best Books for Small Business Owners – Built to Last

November Monthly Must Reads

November Monthly Must-Reads: Best Books for Small Business Owners

Life-long learning is an essential ingredient to business and career success. However, it’s easier said than done – especially for business owners with a lot on their plate. If you own and/or run a business, you may find it difficult to make time for your own learning and professional development. So, we’re here with a strategy that you can fold into your everyday life: Reading the best books for small business owners. Keep up with current innovation, management and workforce trends by reading the right business books for your situation.

Save time by staying tuned to our Monthly Must-Reads series in which we cover well-known and new business books. For each featured book, we share its main focus and key take-aways, allowing you to determine within a minute whether it’s worth your valuable time. This month, we’re sharing Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. For a list of past Monthly Must-Reads, see the bottom of this blog post.

Business Book:

Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras


What goes into building a successful company that lasts for generations to come

Main Idea:

Visionary companies that achieved long-term success did so by identifying and staying true their purpose.

“Managers at visionary companies simply do not accept the proposition that they must choose between short-term performance or long-term success. They build first and foremost for the long term while simultaneously holding themselves to highly demanding short-term standards.” – Built to Last

Great for Small Business Owners Who:

Want to take a long-term view of success and build a strong company culture.


Building upon their six-year research project at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Collins and Porras surveyed hundreds of CEOs at leading corporations. They used these responses along with industry research to identify 18 leading organizations that they call “visionary companies.” These visionary companies have not only stood the test of time, but many have also outpaced their competitors, even ones that had formerly been industry leaders.

So, what did they have in common that helped them rise above their rivals? Collins and Porras compare these companies to their peers throughout various stages of their lifecycles. In Built to Last, the authors lay out their discovery: The practical principles—with examples—behind how visionary companies set themselves apart.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Visionary companies identify their purpose and live for it. A purpose is a meaningful reason for a company to exist. In a truly visionary company, every decision meets and must support the organization’s guiding purpose.
  • Purpose takes precedence – especially over short-term profits. The leaders of time-tested visionary companies put their purpose first every time in order to support their long-term mission.

Reviewers Say:

“As a well-researched book might indicate, the authors provide a tremendous amount of detail on what makes companies such as Coca-Cola, Citi Bank, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney, Nordstrom, stand the test of time. These companies have been active in our lives for generations, and they reveal exactly how they have endured, and how they will continue to endure for many generations to come. Whether you are an entrepreneur, owner, middle manager or a salesman, this book will undoubtedly inspire you to reach great heights.”

“Thoroughly researched and filled with great points. … after the first few chapters, it becomes incredibly redundant. I could only read about Ford and 3M’s same success stories so many times before I became saturated with it and couldn’t take another dose. For the last few chapters, I read the first few pages and then went to the chapter’s ‘Take Away’ section and still got everything I wanted out of the book.”

Check out some of our other Monthly Must-Reads Business Books:

August – Blitzscaling

September – The E-Myth Revisited

October – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

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