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The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change [Hardcover]

Jason Jennings
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 2012
How the world’s most successful companies stay relevant through constant transformation

For most businesses, success is fleeting. There are only two real choices: stick with the status quo until things inevitably decline, or continuously change to stay vital. But how?
Bestselling leadership and management guru Jason Jennings and his researchers screened 22,000 com­panies around the world that had been cited as great examples of reinvention. They selected the best, verified their success, interviewed their leaders, and learned how they pursue never-ending radical change. The fresh insights they discovered became Jennings’s “reinvention rules” for any business. The featured companies include:
• Starbucks—which turned itself around by mak­ing tons of small bets on new ideas. Fresher store designs, better food products, and free Wi-Fi were a few of the results.

• Apollo Tyres—which launched the Apollo Academy to train everyone and reinvented how it finds, keeps, and grows people. It went from five hundred million to two billion in annual sales in only a few years.

• Arrow Electronics—which found success by solving problems that drove its customers crazy and has become a twenty-billion-dollar electronics giant by shifting its focus from selling commodities to custom tailoring solutions.

• Smithfield Foods—which faced a PR crisis over the way it slaughtered animals and polluted the environment and transformed itself by hiring an environmental activist and empowering him to transform the company’s ethos.

• The Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home—which instead of lamenting the growing popularity of cre­mations opened its own profitable cremation center and turned the entire industry upside down.
If you’re ready to toss same old, same old out the door, The Reinventors will become your road map to successfully pursuing continuous change. It will help your company stay relevant for years to come.

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"Jennings is clearly becoming "the "successor to Peter Drucker. Once again, he's done a mas-terful job of researching the world for proven insights on how to reinvent a business and drive sustainable, profitable growth. His ideas are simultaneously practical, unexpected, and powerful. Use them every day to succeed."---DAN COUGHLIN, author of the forthcoming"

About the Author

JASON JENNINGS is the bestselling author of It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small—It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow; Less Is More; Think Big, Act Small; and Hit the Ground Running. USA Today named him one of the three most in-demand business speakers in the world. He and his family divide their time between Tiburon, California, and Timber Rock Shore in Michigan. Visit

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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In fact, companies do not "pursue radical continuous change," extraordinary executives do. As Jason Jennings brilliantly explains in his latest book, companies need "reinventors" at all levels and in all areas, active and productive people who constantly improve what is done and how it is done, thereby sustaining what should be an un-ending process of organizational improvement. They are best viewed as results-driven innovators who make certain they and their organization are continually providing "something of value to someone willing to pay them enough to make it worthwhile." Jennings stresses "radical" improvement but I am certain he agrees that sometimes a minor adjustment can have a major impact.

Here are several of the several dozen passages that caught my eye. These can be found in Chapters 1-3:

o Tired old excuses for little or no growth
o The defining characteristics of a culture of change & growth
o "Letting go" of what doesn't work and/or isn't appropriate
o The major "reinvention killers"
o Determining the WTGBRFDT ("What's the good business reason for doing this?")
o Selecting the appropriate destination (i.e. ultimate objective)
o Becoming an intense, focused, purposeful listener

I also appreciate Jennings' provision of an end-of-chapter "Action Plan" section that highlights key points and suggests specific action steps.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars Sept. 11 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Current thinking and clearly presented.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I'm a believer May 11 2012
By Dan Coughlin - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When it comes to Jason Jennings new book, The Reinventors, I would like to quote Neil Diamond: Now, I'm a believer!

Ten years ago I was serving as an outside consultant for a senior-level executive team in a Fortune 200 company. The person in charge of the group talked about reinvention ad nauseam. He would say to his employees, "You need to reinvent yourself. You need to reinvent the way you do employee performance reviews, the way we serve our customers, the way we look as a business, and the way you dress to work." He would pound on his desk, and whenever employees heard the word reinvention their eyes would start to roll. He was so obsessed with reinvention that he practically reinvented his organization to death. He wanted his company to reinvent everything about itself even when it didn't make sense to do so. As a result, I developed an adverse feeling toward the word reinvention.

Then I read this magnificent book, The Reinventors, by Jason Jennings. At the foundation of this book are two tremendously important insights:

First, you should always be willing to reinvent every aspect of yourself, your team, and your organization. Nothing should be sacrosanct. You should be willing to consider for reinvention your values, your mission, your vision, your strategy, your tactics, your products and services, your approach to clients and the marketplace and every other aspect of who you are as an individual, a team, and an organization.

Second, you should never reinvent anything about yourself or your organization unless it makes sense to do so. You should never reinvent some aspect of yourself or your organization just for the sake of reinventing it.

The magic of The Reinventors is found in these two critically important concepts. The greatest companies in the world are willing to constantly reinvent themselves, but they only do so when the reinvention makes sense.

Rarely has a business book ever been more timely than this one. Due largely to the world's dramatic increase in internet activity and the management of data, more people are connected in more ways around the world than ever before to an exponential degree. Change has always been constant, but now there is a constant rate of highly accelerated change. This means every month provides new world opportunities for every enterprise from small to large.

Consequently the ideas in The Reinventors have tremendous practical value right now. Here are some of my favorite ideas from the book:

Build a culture of change and growth. To me, a culture is how people consistently behave. Consequently, if you build an environment where people consistently look to change and grow in meaningful ways, you proactively prepare yourself to deal with changes in the marketplace. Rather than being forced to change, this type of culture is always ready to change when the changes make sense.

One of my favorite stories in the book is in the introduction. Jennings talks about going back to his hometown where he grew up. He finds almost of the businesses he once admired have shut down. In asking long-time residents what had happened, he found the common denominator of failure was an unwillingness to change as the market changed. This is a story so many of us can relate to and makes a powerful point: we can never assume that what worked in the past will work in the future.

Another great example of this in the book is the story of Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home on pages 60-67. It's a great story of how a very traditional business reinvented itself in a declining market and dramatically increased its sustainable, profitable growth.

Kiss a lot of frogs. This is the title of Chapter Four and it makes so many good points about the importance of trying a lot of small ideas to see which ones work and which ones don't. In this chapter, Jennings uses the famous example of the reinvention of Starbucks to highlight the importance of testing lots and lots of small ideas in order to find the necessary insights to reignite a big brand name. Jennings wrote on page 90, "A culture of small bets is a learning culture in which people discover the right paths to new destinations." I think that idea applies to every type of organization.

Who stays, who leads, who goes. This is the title of Chapter Five and it explores the importance of having the right people in place in order to effectively reinvent an organization on a consistent basis.

Forever frugal. On page 153, Jennings wrote, "The lesson is clear: Having too much money or too many resources can actually get in the way of successful reinvention." His point is a powerful one. It's not that having money stashed away is a bad thing. The problem occurs when people think they can throw money at a problem in order to make it go away. That kind of undisciplined approach is what creates even bigger problems. Regardless of your resources, the key is to approach reinvention with a very tight handle on your spending. Invest in small ways, but learn from every action you take.

Ask WTGBRFSTM: What's the Good Business Reason for Spending This Money? This is my favorite question in the book. It is one of the reasons why Jennings has convinced me to be a believer in reinvention. It gets to the very heart of never reinventing just for the sake of reinventing. I encourage you to ask yourself this question every time you are considering to reinvent yourself or your organization.

I encourage you to study The Reinventors very closely. This is a book for the ages, but particularly for this age.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change the DNA of your organization for survival and victory May 16 2012
By Michael - Published on
Jennings makes it crystal clear: the cost of resisting change in a world that demands constant change should fill every businessperson with dread. We're talking once-thriving commercial downtowns practically abandoned. Busy factories grinding to a halt. It's why everyone must become a reinventor.

He walks you through the process of learning to transform your organization. And shows how not just to stop at finding a better way to go from A to B, but explains how to become a serial reinventor, with the knowledge and momentum to go beyond, to C, D, and E.

Bu this means you must be not just providing value to those willing to pay.... but CONTINUALLY providing value. No gaps. No periods of "reconfiguration." To do this, you must keep growing. Because the people in your organization who can create change need the rewards for their efforts to be there.

So Jennings will show you how to have a highly motivated team that is able to keep ahead of customers constantly changing wants and needs. But he warns, conventional wisdom won't provide continual growth. And so he one by one knocks down the excuses which can prevent growth: Excuses like "It's poor economy," "The ability to grow is not under our control," and "We're too old or big."

Building a culture of growth is a necessity for every organization that wishes to thrive. This has never been truer, and will only become increasingly necessary. No company is entitled to success. It's only through reinvention that companies arrive at the top. And it's only through reinvention that they stay there.

This is destined to be the fundamental text for organizational transformation for years to come. This timely book will wear well, but read it now. The moment for reinvention for your business has not yet passed. But it may soon.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris F May 15 2012
By Chrisfad - Published on
I've read all of Jason's books, and he does not disappoint with The Reinventors. Jason has the unique ability to paint a picture of a company that is sophisticated and insightful not only for the business expert, but for an everyday reader. I highly recommend Jason's latest book the Reinventors.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immediately Implementable Change Management Best Practices Feb. 23 2013
By Nathan Ives - Published on
The Reinventors by Jason Jennings provides a step-by-step method for continuously evolving one’s organization such that it remains ever relevant in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Jason examines not only the change methodology to be employed but provides insights to the key leadership and organizational attributes necessary to effectively reinvent a business. He supports his assertions with detailed examples of how well-known organizations achieved the continuous change driving their ongoing marketplace success.

I particularly like The Reinventors for the soundness of its immediately actionable continuous change methodologies. Jason thoroughly examines all aspects of successful change management; leadership, organization/people, and action. Furthermore, his ‘Action Plans’ at the conclusion of each chapter help the reader focus on the important change principles and can be used to guide action plan development.

Underlying each of Jason’s continuous change principles is a focus on organizational alignment and accountability, the hallmark principles on which StrategyDriven is focused. Vivid, real-world examples serve to bring the principles conveyed to life; making them easy to relate to and helping the reader envision how he or she might take action to reinvent their organization.

The Reinventors‘s immediately implementable, real-world change methods that reinforce organizational alignment and accountability makes it a StrategyDriven recommended read.

All the Best,
Nathan Ives
StrategyDriven Principal
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide to embracing change in your business May 17 2012
By John Gibbs - Published on
Your job as you know it and your business as it is currently run will eventually change; the only chance any of us have for prosperity is to constantly reimagine, rethink and reinvent everything we do and how we do it in order to remain relevant, according to Jason Jennings in this book. If your desire to be comfortable is greater than your need to embrace change it is probably time to call it a day, wrap things up and put the business into hungry hands.

So how do you go about creating the necessary amount of change without destroying your business? The author's advice includes:

* The leadership of a business is responsible for building a culture of change and growth, which includes keeping, growing and rewarding the right people, and finding, keeping and growing more customers.
* Before you can embrace change, you have to be willing to let go of practices which might have been helpful in the past but which are barriers to innovation.
* Reinvention starts with choosing a clear destination.
* Try a large number of small bets on innovations, rather than trying big bets, because most successful strategy is discovered by taking lots of small bets.
* Companies which succeed through change employ people who have basic smarts, are eager lifelong learners, have a good work ethic, like the company, want to climb some mountains, are optimistic, think like the owner, and feel like they belong.
* Frugality spurs ingenuity, and companies which successfully embrace change have a disdain for waste and indulgence.
* Successful reinvention works best by systematizing everything: determining the best way to do things step-by-step, making sure everyone does things the same way, and using the system as a baseline for continual improvement.

The book is filled cover to cover with stories of companies which made changes or failed to make changes, and these make it very readable and highly engaging. Some types of business are changing more rapidly than others, but all types of business seem to be changing more rapidly today than was the case a few decades ago, so this book will be a very useful resource for most business leaders.
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