Let me start off by saying this is one of the best books I’ve read on business. It’s one of the best because it studies an often overlooked component of great businesses, survival. The other thing that makes this book great is it is only 80-pages long. In addition, very few people have read this book. I ordered 30 copies last month to give away and I think I doubled the annual sales of the book. This book deserves to get more attention. It really should be mandatory reading for any intro to business course.
What does it take for a company to survive for 100 years in the United States? And which ones have it? “Lessons from Century Club Companies” will give you the answers. This book describes the results of ten years of research into the unique management practices of companies that have prospered for over 100 years. Previous studies of corporate longevity, such as “Built to Last” and “The Living Company,” profile a few very large, publicly-owned firms. But most companies over 100 years, as well as over 95 percent of all U.S. companies, are small- to medium-sized, private businesses. “Lessons from Century Club Companies” gives you – in the words of the companies and their leaders, themselves – the reasons for their remarkable performance over time.
Author Vicki TenHaken is a Professor of Management at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Vicki and her colleagues studied Century Club Companies, those companies that have been in operation for more than 100 years. There are roughly 700 of such companies in the United States. The purpose of the book was to see what qualities, attributes, behaviors allowed them to endure for so long. She sent out surveys and interviewed hundreds of these companies and compared them against how younger companies operate (also surveyed and interviewed).
Interviews with hundreds of leaders of Century Club Companies revealed five factors that were imperative to their survival.
I hope I’ve teased you enough. Go buy the book [HERE].
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