January 27, 2009
Book Short: Long on Platitudes, Short on Value
I approached Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters, by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson, with great enthusiasm, as Porras was co-author, along with Jim Collins, of two of my favorite business books of all time, Built to Last and Good to Great. I was very disappointed in the end. This wasn’t really a business book, despite its marketing and hype. At best, it was a poor attempt at doing what Malcolm Gladwell just did in Outliers in attempting to zero in on the innate, learned, and environmental qualities that drive success.
The book had some reasonably good points to make and definitely some great quotes, but it was very rambly and hard to follow. Its attempt at creating an overall framework like the one used in Built to Last and Good to Great just plain didn’t work, as two of the three legs of the stool were almost incomprehensible, or to put it more charitably, didn’t hang together well.
This isn’t a terrible book to have on your shelf, and it might be good to skim, but remember that “skim” is only one letter away from “skip.”