Summary of Small Giants

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Small Giants book summary


7 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Some companies intentionally stay small so that they can be the best at what they do. In the world of globalization, these companies oppose the trend toward unbridled growth. They want to be strong, local and contained. Magazine writer and author Bo Burlingham provides profiles, or "field reports," covering 14 "small giants" - companies whose hands-on leaders kept them small, involved in their communities and focused on quality. Burlingham sometimes takes you up close and personal with his characters, so you read about their divorces, kids, personal finances and how long they worked in the stock room, as well as about the history of their companies. This magazine-style level of personal detail makes it clear that his mission isn’t to teach you how to run a small giant, but to explore the nature of locally rooted, passionately led, deliberately small companies. getAbstract finds that the author’s focus on unique privately held companies is very valuable for the leaders of small businesses, especially those who are deciding just how big they want their companies to become.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How a company can become a "small giant";
  • How specific small giant companies have achieved great things; and
  • Which characteristics small giants have in common.

About the Author

Bo Burlingham is editor-at-large for Inc. magazine. His work has also appeared in Esquire, Harpers, Mother Jones and the Boston Globe. He is the co-author of The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome.



Scaling Down
Conventional wisdom says large public companies are the centerpiece of U.S. business. These companies push themselves to expand at all costs so they can show growing profits and sales. In contrast, take a look at 14 small private companies that have deliberately stayed small...

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