This book is widely recommended in my circles. In the Army, we LOVE books that focus on leadership and culture and building successful teams. Good to Great is about how good companies become great companies. More than that, it required the companies studied to have prolonged (at least 15 years) of good performance, followed by at least 15 years of great performance. Performance was generally measured as a comparison between the stock performance of the Fortune 500. Collins and his team of 21 researchers determined that great performance meant that a company outperformed the average by at least three percent over the period of great performance.
I think that the principles used in this book make sense. I think that the methodology is pretty solid given the inherent nature of organizational behavior. Collins does an excellent job identifying metaphors to explain his principles. The advice within Good to Great passes all the sniff tests. However, like all books of this nature, it seems pretty obvious. While that is most certainly my own confirmation bias, I absolutely identify the good principles and characteristics in the bosses and leaders who I most respect. I should also add that I really appreciated the way that Collins addressed potential criticisms of the book. It was done in a very well-thought out manner.
Finally, and perhaps the reason that I give this four stars rather than five, is that two of the great companies reference are the now defunct Circuit City and the fraudulent Wells Fargo. Collins flat out addresses that the great companies may not continue to be great companies in the future in his potential criticisms. The book was also published in 2006 which was before the issues those companies now face. That said, I find it hard to consider either to be great, even though they once were.