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Download The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers Audiobook, by Keith R. McFarland Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (114 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Keith R. McFarland Narrator: Keith R. McFarland Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9780739358542
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The vast majority of small businesses stay small—and not by choice. Only the most savvy and persistent—a tiny one tenth of one percent—break through to annual sales above $250 million. In The Breakthrough Company, Keith McFarland pinpoints how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that luck is a negligible factor. Rather, breakthrough success turns out to be associated with a clearly identifiable set of strategies and skills that anyone in any business can emulate—from small startup to industry leader.

Encouraged by experts such as business legend Peter Drucker and Good to Great author Jim Collins to identify the drivers that enable a company to push past the entrepreneurial phase, McFarland spent five years building and analyzing the world’s largest growth-company performance database and interviewing more than 1,500 growth-company executives on four continents. His goal was simple: to identify the secrets of breakthrough.

The Breakthrough Company is the result. Winnowing a study pool of more than 7,000 companies down to nine that have made the transition to major-player status, McFarland highlights real-world tools and myth-busting insights that can be used by anyone wanting his or her business to join this exclusive circle. Among the book’s takeaways:

  • Common wisdom holds that the founders and core entrepreneurial leaders of a company must step aside for the business to reach the next level. Not true—as long as founders “crown the company” instead of themselves.
  • It’s not reckless to make ever-escalating bets on your company’s future, even going nose to nose with competitors many times your size. In fact, it turns out that the only safety comes in constantly upping the ante in exactly this way.
  • A Business Bermuda Triangle does exist, gobbling up companies on the verge of breakthrough. Presented here are three ways to navigate this potentially deadly hazard successfully.
  • However good you are—or think you are—you can’t do it alone. Learn how to surround your company with networks of outside resources, aka “scaffolding,” and how to enlist the aid of “insultants”—people who are willing to question a firm’s existing assumptions and ways of doing business.

With powerful and specific action steps concluding each chapter—and invaluable advice on virtually every page from business leaders who’ve taken their companies to extraordinary levels of growth and profitability—The Breakthrough Company is one of the most provocative, inspiring, and instructive business books you’ll ever read.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Keith McFarland is about to be added to the list of the top business thinkers--Tom Peters, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey.  If you buy only one business book in 2008, this one should be it. Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
  • Greatly needed! Features marvelous analysis of the principles that enable entrepreneurial enterprises to survive and thrive. It will inspire those in charge to become true leaders by rejecting 'small' goals rooted in ego and embracing visionary values that impart moral authority up and down the organizational ladder. I urge you to read this book: it's impressively researched, beautifully illustrated, and clearly written. Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • McFarland successfully tackles the ever-present question for ambitious entrepreneurs: just how do you go from small to big–and prosper?  This book has the makings of a classic. Steve Forbes, President & CEO, Editor-in-Chief, Forbes
  • THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY is a book that refreshingly and persuasively backs up -- with a wealth of hard evidence -- its contrarian claims regarding how to elevate a growing business to undreamt of levels…Think GOOD TO GREAT for those still small enough to think big. Bob Eckert, Chairman & CEO, Mattel, Inc
  • Disdainful of  too-easily-accepted 'common wisdom,' zealous at getting to the real facts of what makes some companies stall out and others thrive, Keith McFarland's THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY offers a goldmine of insight to anyone who's ever dreamed that the business they lead can become a 'player.' The Honorable Jack Kemp, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Former Vice-Presidential Candidate, Former US Congressman.
  • A seriously great book…Drawing from an unusually detailed and careful study of both excellent and average performers, McFarland offers a set of powerful insights into building a breakthrough organization. Managers and employees alike will find his conclusions at once provocative and useful, since they focus on the ways that ordinary people combine to do extraordinary things. William Barnett, Thomas M. Siebel Professor in Business, Leadership, Strategy & Organizations, Graduate Business School, Stanford University
  • “The Breakthrough Company rocks!  Start this book and you’ll find yourself looking forward to evenings, weekends and plane flights so you can read more!  More than even the iconic books in this category, this look at the key issues for growing companies provides a deep dive in terms of substance and real-world examples.  The margins of my own copy are quite literally covered with notes on ideas inspired by what McFarland has to say. Brad Duea, President, Napster
  • This book is unique.  Every paragraph has tucked within it one jewel of insight—- and sometimes more. Fair warning to anyone who immerses himself in this analysis: you’ll find yourself underlining every page! Bob Galvin, formerly, CEO Motorola
  • THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY is in-your-gut persuasive. The best books, like this one, change your mind about something important–and with each rereading prove freshly inspirational.  McFarland's insightful drill-down doesn't just answer the questions that keep growth-company leaders up at night, it’s an invaluable compass pointing the way to best-in-class performance. Bob Geiman, Partner, Polaris Venture Partners
  • In THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY Keith McFarland gives us the clever metaphor of the Business Bermuda Triangle. The book provides insightful observations and advice that will help guide a business leader through pivotal times of a company’s growth. McFarland’s focus on the realities of managing costs, listening to customers and responding with agility to external factors makes this book a compelling “how to” on thriving in today's business world. Shantanu Narayen, President and COO, Adobe Systems
  • I loved THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY…it’s a cornerstone business book and a must read for any senior executive.  McFarland, backed by considerable research, describes the characteristics that allow a small to medium size company to grow into a breathrough company --one that’s significant, lasting and influences the market. Caroline Little, CEO & Publisher, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI)
  • Most business books really should really be articles–THE BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY is different.  As a CEO of a company approaching a billion in revenues, I can tell you that his book passes the ‘Monday Morning Test you’ll finish it with a list of things you’ll do differently on Monday morning.  I only wish Keith had published the book years ago!
  • In an increasingly entrepreneurial economy, fast-growing, innovative firms will be absolutely central to future economic success. With keen insight and extensive analysis, McFarland helps to fill a gap in our
    —Carl J. Schramm, President and CEO, Kauffman Foundation, and author of The International Imperative

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catharinec | 1/26/2013

    " I checked this out from the library and definitely plan to buy it. I LOVED Good to Great. It was one of the most useful books I studied in graduate school. This is closer to my family's small business life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anda Marie | 1/16/2013

    " I took away some GREAT and major points from this book, but it wasn't really applicable to me as a super SMALL business owner. Maybe if I intended to own a huge world renowned company one day, I would give this 5 stars. And not skim half of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Wilson | 1/7/2013

    " I loved this book...but most people will not. The reason that I loved it was because of it's relevance to my everyday business life and the challenges I perpetually confront. I would bored out of my mind if I had read it a couple of years ago...but it struck a chord during this time in my life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 11/29/2012

    " It's pretty good. I didn't find anything really new. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darrin Haslem | 9/27/2012

    " This was more of an educational endeavor to support my own efforts. Excellent case studies from other companies that found incredible success. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kenny | 5/29/2012

    " Great look at a few companies that are doing things "right". Right by they workers and right by their shareholders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori Grant | 4/12/2012

    " A should-read book on organizational behavior and design for knowledge workers, managers, executives, and entrepreneurs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica Faulkner Chase | 4/29/2011

    " Great book to read in a group of co-workers if your organization is going through a strategy shift or if you are starting a completely new business. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Errol | 7/27/2009

    " The author hits this topic squarely. He delivers valuable insights for mid-market managers wanting to step up their business. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 6/6/2009

    " Good business book. Some interesting points, some less-interesting points. If you're entrepreneurially minded you may enjoy this more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 6/2/2009

    " I read this at the behest of my boss. There's really nothing terribly new here, but it is a good compilation of the things that we all "know" about what makes groups of humans successful, but seem to forget. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dimpleslala | 11/24/2008

    " So far, so good. But, while the book is long on research methodology, it is short on revelations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 10/6/2008

    " This was a great business book for a business owner or company leader. It had really interesting examples and easy to follow. Very similar to Good to Great but the research has a different objective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle Millard | 3/24/2008

    " Not bad. Same stuff as a Covey book, but interesting still in some of the models presented. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Tuggle | 2/15/2008

    " Outstanding look at what makes some companies great and leaves others stuck in first gear. Anything Keith McFarland has written is worth a serious read. "

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About the Author
At the age of twenty-six, Keith R. McFarland was named associate dean of one of the nation’s leading business schools. He went on to serve as CEO of two top technology firms prior to establishing McFarland Strategy Partners, where he has ad­vised hundreds of growth companies as well as industry leaders such as Microsoft, Motorola, ­and Morgan Stanley. Currently, McFarland is a columnist for BusinessWeek. He and and his family live just downhill from the ski lifts at Snowbird, Utah. Vistit his website at breakthroughcompany.com.