Summary of The Biology of Corporate Survival

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Why are so many businesses around the world failing and disappearing? Consultants Martin Reeves and Daichi Ueda and biology professor Simon Levin answer this question by drawing similarities between biological species and companies, viewing them both as “complex adaptive systems.” Not surprisingly, they conclude that companies need to adapt to today’s increasingly dynamic business world to survive. As a guideline, they offer six principles to help organizations become more robust. getAbstract recommends their insightful analysis to managers, executives and business leaders.

About the Authors

Martin Reeves is the managing director of BCG New York, Simon Levin is a professor of biology at Princeton University and Daichi Ueda is an associate at BCG Washington, DC.



Companies today are dying at an unprecedented rate. In fact, a third of all public companies are at risk of being delisted by 2021. To survive in today’s fluctuating business environment, organizations need a high level of adaptability and long-term planning skills.

Businesses, like biological species, function as “complex adaptive systems” (CASs) and their robustness depends on the same principles. In a CAS, “events” and “interactions” among individuals restructure the system. These changes to the system, in turn, influence...

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