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James C. Collins

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James C. Collins
James C. Collins speaking in Denver, Colorado (May 2017)
Born (1958-01-25) January 25, 1958 (age 66)[1]
Alma materStanford University (BA) (MBA)
SpouseJoanne Ernst

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


Collins received a BS in Mathematical Sciences at Stanford University, graduating in 1980.

He then spent 18 months in McKinsey & Co.'s San Francisco office. He was exposed to what may have been an influential project for him – two partners at McKinsey, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, were running a McKinsey research project that later turned into the best-seller In Search of Excellence.[5]

After his time at McKinsey, he returned to study at Stanford, graduating with an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1983.

He then worked as a product manager for Hewlett-Packard for 18 months, before quitting to help manage his wife's ascending triathlon career.[5]

Collins began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business in 1988, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992.

He published his first book, Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company co-authored with William C. Lazier, in 1992.

He published his first best-seller Built To Last, co-authored with Jerry Porras, in 1994.

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]


Research and writing[edit]

Collins has authored or co-authored six books based on his research, including the classics:

Built to Last has been a fixture on the Business Week best-seller list for more than six years, and has been translated into 25 languages.

Good to Great, "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]

His most recent book is Great by Choice.

Before that he wrote How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In.

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


Jim Collins is also a speaker, consultant, and seminar leader.



  • 1992: Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company by James C. Collins and William C. Lazier
  • 1994: Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras
  • 2001: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t by James C. Collins
  • 2005: Good to Great and the Social Sectors by James C. Collins
  • 2009: How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by James C. Collins[10]
  • 2011: Great By Choice by James C. Collins and Morten T. Hansen
  • 2019: Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great by James C. Collins
  • 2020: BE 2.0 (Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0): Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company by James C. Collins and William C. Lazier


  1. ^ Catalyst Together, DVD No. 1 of Catalyst Conference, 2008
  2. ^ "James C. Collins". Retrieved December 20, 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 of a 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. ^ a b Lenzner, Robert. "Good To Great". Forbes. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  6. ^ "James C. "Jim" Collins, III – AchieveMax Blog". AchieveMax Blog. July 20, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  7. ^ Adam Bryant (May 23, 2009). "For This Guru, No Question Is Too Big". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 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. ^ "Good to great to gone", The Economist, July 7, 2009

External links[edit]