One of the most highly praised books of the last few years in Jim Collin's Good to Great. Jim calls himself "a student and teacher of enduring companies -- how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies".
This book is an extensive study of companies and what characteristics are common in those that achieve and remain at the top of their industries. He compares and contrasts these companies with their competition and shows exactly what makes greatness.
Collins is a former faculty member of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. I usually do not love books written by professors, as too often they are stale and too academic for my taste. Yet even with years of research and enough stats to sink a ship, Good to Great is hard to put down. I wanted to include him in "The Praise Others Project" because he is a wonderful writer who caused me to think - "Good is the enemy of Great!". That alone gets me out of bed in the morning.
Regardless of your industry, your company can benefit from Collins' research and observations. When I first read this book I saw the company I was working for as just "good". Sadly they had no ambition of being great, so the lessons were lost on there. Fortunately my current employer is one of Collin's "great" examples. The difference in working for a "good" company and a "great" company are very easy to spot once you know the difference.
This book should be a MUST READ for anyone who is in business. If you have not read this book, put it on the top of your stack for 2007!
Collins is an avid rock climber who makes his home in Colorado. He runs his research laboratory and consults with Fortune 500 CEOs. He seems cool.
Have A Great Day.