Usually when I read a book, I really read it. I read every word. But this time I read every word for the first 50 pages, and then... well I just couldn't do it any more, so I started skimming and went and watched the movie. The movie you can find over on YouTube. At 18 minutes long, it is a good taste test for the book. In fact it covers exactly the same examples used in the book.

The concept is reasonable, start with WHY (which although never said, I believe is generally known as the company mission statement) make sure it is grand enough to be something people can identify themselves with. Then keep the company focussed on that WHY (mission/purpose) while they go about the business of whatever it is you do.

I'm sure this is way to short a description of the general gist to satisfy supporters of this idea. But that's what I'm walking away with.

Having read/skimmed the balance of the book, there were some anecdotes of specific companies and situations that I found very interesting and informative. This was the kind of a discussion that I tend to have trouble with, where the lessons are all taught at 15 000 feet above the nuts and bolts level and while there are examples from other companies and other situations, there wasn't really a framework laid out for how to apply the ideas to a new company, so as to create trust and loyalty, a brand that sticks and isn't transaction based, or even how to identify if that would be an asset for a particular business.

Application of knowledge is, of course, the engineers focus. So I'm always after the means to take learning and apply them to my situations (or at least identify if I should attempt). With this book I felt after my abberviated read, there was a missing section and that missing section was the workbook portion where there is a set of excercises to help identify a company WHY and then some significant teasing out methods to drive that purpose through the various aspects of a company. But reading through the book, what I ended up walking away with, is that, those secrets are what the successful executives of leading companies have mastered.

I started this book with HIGH hopes, maybe a bit too high to have even the best piece of work focussed literature satisfy them. And there were plenty of interesting anecdotes along the way, but I didn't find this book opening the doors to significantly greater understanding of how to make a business great. At the end, I feel like I should go and read the biographies of some of the successful executives that are revered in this book.