Summary of In Search of Excellence

Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies

First Edition: 1982 more...

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In Search of Excellence book summary
This business classic gives you models for eight paths to excellence, all based on simplicity and common sense. Now, walk the walk.


9 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


This book presents the results of a research project that authors Tom Peters and Robert Waterman conducted from 1979 to 1980. They investigated the qualities common to the best-run companies in America. After selecting a sample of 43 companies from six major industries, they examined the firms’ practices closely. Although they did this study more than 20 years ago, their results provide a model of eight core principles for excellence that are still true for companies today. These eight principles may seem like common sense, but this research was the first to identify these qualities systematically. This excellent book is a management classic. Many stories illustrate its key points. getAbstract recommends this pivotal book to everyone in business.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which eight principles characterize America’s most successful companies; and
  • How to apply these principles.


McKinsey’s 7-S Framework
Peters and Waterman began their study at a time when American business was under great competitive pressure due to growing global competition, particularly from the Japanese. They wanted to find out what made excellent American companies so very good, in order ...
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About the Authors

Thomas J. Peters is an author, speaker, and professional agitator. His books include The Little BIG Things, Re-Imagine!, Thriving on Chaos, Liberation Management, and The Circle of Innovation Robert H. Waterman is a director of a major consulting company and author of several books, including What America Does Right and The Renewal Factor.

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