It’s an axiom of business that great companies grow their revenues and profits year after year. Yet quietly, under the radar, a small number of companies have rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satisfying business goals. Goals like being great at what they do . . . creating a great place to work . . . providing great customer service . . . making great contributions to their communities . . . and finding great ways to lead their lives.
In Small Giants, veteran journalist Bo Burlingham takes us deep inside fourteen remarkable companies that have chosen to march to their own drummer. They include Anchor Brewing, the original microbrewer; CitiStorage Inc., the premier independent records-storage business; Clif Bar & Co., maker of organic energy bars and other nutrition foods; Righteous Babe Records, the record company founded by singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco; Union Square Hospitality Group, the company of restaurateur Danny Meyer; and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, including the world-famous Zingerman’s Deli of Ann Arbor.
Burlingham shows how the leaders of these small giants recognized the full range of choices they had about the type of company they could create. And he shows how we can all benefit by questioning the usual definitions of business success. In his new afterward, Burlingham reflects on the similarities and learning lessons from the small giants he covers in the book.
It aims to do for small private companies what In Search of Excellence did two decades ago for big public companies: shine a light on a handful of business practices the author admires, and which he believes are the reason some companies consistently do better than others. (Joseph Nocera, The New York Times)
Small Giants is one of the most relevant and articulate arguments for staying bold and creative, intimate and manageable as I have ever read. I guarantee that expression and the arguments for staying small will cause a collective sigh of relief from thousands of entrepreneurs. (Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop)
With new management books arriving by the boatload, Bo Burlingham has somehow managed the near impossible—he’s given us a true original. Moreover, in the process he may have ‘discovered’ the most interesting and under-reported corner of the U.S. economy. In short, Small Giants is a Large Masterpiece. Bo’s reporting is stupendous, and his writing and storytelling skills make the book equal parts fun and profound. (Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence)
The fourteen companies that Bo Burlingham… features in his new book Small Giants demonstrate conclusively that a company can resist the temptation to keep getting bigger and bigger—and wind up better for it. (Cecil Johnson, The Fort Worth Star- Telegram)
For all you harried entrepreneurs out there, Bo Burlingham has a reassuring message: Relax. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. The wonderful stories in Small Giants show you how to prosper by retaining the vision of excellence that got you into business in the first place. (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence)
Bo Burlingham’s done for private companies what Jim Collins did for public companies in Good to Great. (Steve Pearlstein, The Washington Post)