35 Spectacular James C. Collins Quotes

James C. Collins is an American business consultant and author that specializes in company sustainability and growth. With more than a half dozen books, more than 2.5 million copies have been sold of his top books. Here is a listing to some of the best James C. Collins quotes to get inspired by.

“A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising.”

“And an integrated life is one where you’re able to fit the different pieces of your life together in seamless fashion.”

“Bad decisions made with good intentions, are still bad decisions.”

“Change your practices without abandoning your core values.”

“Companies that change best over time know first and foremost what should not change.”

“Comparison, a great teacher once told me, is the cardinal sin of modern life. It traps us in a game that we can’t win. Once we define ourselves in terms of others, we lose the freedom to shape our own lives.”


“Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.”

“Get the right people on the bus and in the right seat.”

“Good is the enemy of great. And that’s one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.”

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”

“I am completely Socratic.”

“I can just let my curiosity wander unleashed.”

“If I’m going really, really fast, I can do a page of finished text a day, on average.”

“In a world of constant change, the fundamentals are more important than ever.”

“Just because a company falls doesn’t invalidate what we can learn by studying that company when it was at its historical best.”

“Not every financial company toppled during the 2008 crisis, and some seized the opportunity to take advantage of weaker competitors in the midst of the tumult.”

“Resilency, not perfection, is the signature of greatness.”

“That good is the enemy of great is not just a business problem. It is a human problem.”

“That the potential to become Level 5 exists in you and me and the people we work with and that it is then a process or a journey to nurture that seed… in a culture by and large that doesn’t reinforce it.”

“The critical question is not whether you’ll have luck, but what you do with the luck that you get.”

“The drive for progress doesn’t wait for the external world to say”It’s time to change.”

“The essence of profound insight is simplicity.”

“The first is that instead of writing a sequel, which is what most people do, this is in fact a prequel. Although we didn’t know that when we began the process.”

“The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake. The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led-yes. But not tightly managed.”

“The only mistakes you can learn from are the ones you survive.”

“The only way to remain great is to keep on applying the fundamental principles that made you great.”

“The point of that is, if you look at Walgreen’s history, they’ve always been pioneers in the application of technology. They’re the only drugstore chain that I know to have their own satellite.”

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline.”

“There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying,”We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.”

“Those fortunate enough to find or create a practical intersection of the three circles have the basis for a great work life.”

“Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity…are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.”

“Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products.”

“True leadership has people who follow when they have the freedom not to.”

“We are not imprisoned by circumstances, setbacks, mistakes or staggering defeats, we are freed by our choices.”

Here is a clip from an interview with Charlie Rose, as Jim Collins discusses almost a decade of research and shares how to become ‘Great by Choice.’

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