How the Mighty Fall

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a book review.  Not because I haven’t been reading.  Just because nothing has wowed me enough to tell you about it.

Well, the drought is over.

I finally finished Jim Collins new book “How the Mighty Fall” and LOVED IT!

How the mighty fall

There’s no question I’m a Jim Collins fan.  I believe “Good to Great” is the defining business book of our generation.  “Right seat on the bus”, “hedgehog”, “flywheel”… all terms that have become part of our universal vocabulary as leaders.  But honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect from “How the Mighty Fall”.  I was definitely intrigued by the concept but frankly wondered if Jim had a another great book in him.

What I love about this book is that Jim wrestles with a fear that leaders of any organization wrestle with “what if we fail?”  As a church leader, I can’t help but watch the dying churches all over America and wonder “how did they get there?” No church sets out to reach hundreds of people, have a thriving, growing ministry and then one day find themselves rapidly declining and struggling to pay the bills.

Let me clarify.  There are differences between businesses and churches and I’m not suggesting that “How the Mighty Fall” is the antidote for struggling churches.  What I am saying is that reading Jim’s observations and analysis of businesses that have fallen provides a framework from which to ask questions and seek direction.  In fact, one of the chapters of the book could have easily been called “pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18).  It wasn’t difficult to find some Biblical themes running through this one in regard to the lack of character, integrity and wisdom of the leaders of companies that had fallen.

Here are a few quotes from the book that got me thinking:

“Every institution is vulnerable, no matter how great.  No matter how much you’ve achieved, no matter how far you’ve gone, no matter how much power you’ve garnered, you are vulnerable to decline.”

“While no leader can single-handedly build an enduring great company, the wrong leader vested with power can almost single-handedly bring a company down.”

“The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change.  The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”

“When you abandon hope, you should begin preparing for the end.”

Have you read the book?  What would you add?

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  • Linnae Hoppe August 5, 2009  

    When Jenni says a book is good… I read it! Can’t wait to get this one!

  • Gina August 6, 2009  

    Getting a copy myself. Not the first time to hear great things about this book. Thanks for the notes.