'Built to Last' past its prime for PR pros

The opening chapters of this book describe the fundamentals of visionary companies - all of which have a core ideology.

The opening chapters of this book describe the fundamentals of visionary companies - all of which have a core ideology.

To stimulate progress, these firms develop audacious goals, encourage cult-like cultures, and nurture homegrown management.

For PR pros, the book is a reminder to examine a company's core ideology as a clue to its external behavior. However, while ideology defines such firms, their behavior doesn't always follow. Our work is easier if the two match. All too often they don't, however, and it falls to us to manage the gap.

The authors' research reflects a mid-1980s snapshot of US business. The influence of economic globalization on core ideology and business practices is absent, making the study not much more than an interesting historical footnote in late 20th century qualitative business research.

Although well written, there are scores of timely, relevant books today that better serve the needs of PR pros.

Title Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Authors James Collins and Jerry Porras

Publisher HarperBusiness (November 2004), 368 pages

Reviewed by Norman Booth, VP, Keating & Co

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