I have just finished reading your famous book, Built to Last. Though its been more than a decade since you wrote it, the popularity of the book endures and that is what prompted me to read it. I must say that it is correctly called the bible of business but unfortunately not all visionary companies that you described in the book would be called visionary today.
They had been in the business for a long time and had proved that they were solid and not some one-song wonder.
The best thing about your book was the criteria that set some firms apart from others. It was good to see that these visionary firms had been selected on the basis of some important traits. I totally agree with the criteria. These firms had to premier institution in their industry, admired by well-known business people and left an impression on the world. All the firms you had chosen did meet that criteria, for example Motorola, Merck and GE had all been extremely successful firms. But things changed for some of them and reading your book now, I feel that some of them wouldn't make it to the list again. For example Motorola is no longer the premier institution, Merck had struggled with its position as well. But there are also the winners such as Procter and Gamble and GE that continue to outperform their competitors. But they might not meet all the standards set for a visionary company. For me today, a visionary company would include some relatively small firms that have earned the respect and awe of public and rivals alike. And my list wouldn't include the big names like Philip Morris or Wal-Mart because there has been severe criticism against their practices. ...
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