Great by Choice – Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

It is so hard to find good books to read, but I think I just found one that is very interesting. One of their concepts is embracing two opposing ideas at the same time, which is what makes people come out ahead of everybody else. I’ve also found some other concepts articulated very well in the book that I have pondered in my head before.


This is an excerpt from the Q&A section of the book.

“Q: You mention the “Genius of the AND” a few times in the text. What’s the Genius of the AND and how does it apply here?

We found in the Built to Last study that leaders of enduring great companies are comfortable with paradox, having the ability to embrace two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time. They don’t oppress themselves with what we call the”Tyranny of the OR,” which pushes people to believe that things must be either A OR B,but not both. Instead, the best leaders liberate themselves with the Genius of the AND—the ability to embrace both extremes of a number of dimensions at the same time. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time,and still retain the ability to function.” In the 10X study, we found extensive evidence of the Genius of the AND. For example,

Disciplined And Creative
Empirical validation And Bold moves
Prudence And BHAGs (BigHairy Audacious Goals)
Paranoid And Courageous
Ferociously ambitious And Not egocentric
Severe performance standards, no excuses And Never going too far, able to hold back
On a 20 Mile March And Fire bullets, then cannonball 
Threshold innovation And One fad behind 
Cannot predict the future And Prepared for what they cannot predict
Go slow when they can And Go fast when they must
Disciplined thought And Decisive action
Zoom out And Zoom in
Adhering to a SMaC recipe And Amending a SMaC recipe
Consistency And Change
Never count on luck And Get a high ROL when luck comes”


The luck concept is something that I’ve pondered a lot in my life. I’d say this book did an excellent job analyzing luck. What I got out of it is something along the lines of it is not about good luck or bad luck. Their studies showed every company has equal share of good and bad lucks in its lifetime. The crux of the issue is the ability to leverage on the good or bad lucks it encounters; it is just about getting a high return on luck (ROL) by using these unforeseen circumstances whether they are good or bad.


I hope I can find more good books to share.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s