James C. Collins

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James C. Collins
James C. Collins.jpg
James C. Collins speaking in Denver, Colorado (May 2017)
Born (1958-01-25) January 25, 1958 (age 61)[1]
Alma materStanford University (BA) (MBA)
Spouse(s)Joanne Ernst

James C. "Jim" Collins (born 1958) is an American author, consultant and lecturer on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth.[3][4]


Collins received a BS in Mathematical Sciences at Stanford University, and afterward obtained his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business followed by 18 months as a consultant with McKinsey & Company. He then worked as a product manager for Hewlett-Packard[5].

Collins began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts research and teaches executives from the corporate and social sectors[6]. During that time, Collins has served as a senior executive at CNN International, and also worked with social sector organizations, such as: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Leadership Network of Churches, the American Association of K-12 School Superintendents, and the United States Marine Corps.[citation needed]

Collins is married to former triathlete and 1985 Ironman World Championship winner, Joanne Ernst.[7][8]



Collins has authored or co-authored six books based on his research, including the classic Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, a fixture on the Business Week best-seller list for more than six years, which has been translated into 25 languages. His most recent book is Great by Choice. Before that he wrote How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. Good to Great, his previous book, "about the factors common to those few companies ... to sustain remarkable success for a substantial period," attained long-running positions on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best-seller lists, has sold over 2.5 million hardcover copies, and has been translated into 32 languages.[citation needed]

Collins frequently contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Week, Fortune and other publications[9].

Level 5 leader[edit]

Collins often discusses a "Level 5 leader" in his writings. This refers to the peak of a five-tier hierarchy of leadership characteristics presented in the books. A Level 5 Leader is someone who embodies a “paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will[10].”

Test Pilot[edit]

Collins re-published an autobiography called Test Pilot (Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1935), written by his grandfather Jimmy Collins, after whom Collins is named. Jimmy Collins was the chief test pilot for the Grumman military aircraft company during the 1930s, and Clark Gable portrayed him in the movie version of his book. Jimmy Collins died in a crash while testing the F3 biplane, having predicted and described his death before it happened[11].




  1. ^ Catalyst Together, DVD #1 of Catalyst Conference, 2008
  2. ^ "James C. Collins". Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  3. ^ Aron Cramer, Zachary Karabell (2010) Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World. : This books states that "... strategists like Jim Collins, in his seminal book Good to Great, have noted the importance ofa corporate mission, sustainability provides a specific and urgent purpose that is redefining business." (p. 7)
  4. ^ Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan (2010) Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit. p. 115
  5. ^ "Business Thought - James C. Collins | Profit". www.profitmagazin.com. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  6. ^ "James C. "Jim" Collins, III - AchieveMax® Blog". AchieveMax® Blog. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  7. ^ Adam Bryant (May 23, 2009). "For This Guru, No Question Is Too Big". New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  8. ^ About his wife, he once stated, “We’ve been married 20 years and we have 50–50 ownership ... but she holds all the voting shares.” Source: Strategy & Business. (1998) Nr 22-25. p. 49
  9. ^ Collins, James; Porras, Jerry; Duck, Jeanie Daniel; Pascale, Richard; Athos, Anthony (1998). Harvard Business Review on Change. Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 9780875848846.
  10. ^ "Level 5 Leadership: Achieving "Greatness" as a Leader". Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  11. ^ Kleiner, Art. "Climbing to Greatness with Jim Collins". strategy+business. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  12. ^ "Good to great to gone", The Economist, July 7, 2009

External links[edit]