Journal Entry 

 Book Report on “Good to Great” by Jim Collins 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Book Report on “Good to Great” by Jim Collins

Our course emphasizes the importance of memorializing the books we read by writing book reports. Below I offer a sample report for Good to Great. It’s no big deal. Just answer three questions.

1) What prompted me to choose this book?

During my time in prison, I was always on the lookout for literature that could provide insights into personal growth, leadership, and organizational success. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins came highly recommended by many as a seminal work on corporate excellence. The title itself resonated with me. I didn’t just want to be good; I aspired to be great. I believed that the principles that led companies to greatness could also be applied to individual lives, especially for those of us who were striving to rebuild and redefine our futures.

2) What did I learn from reading this book?

One of the most impactful concepts I learned from “Good to Great” was the idea of the Flywheel. Collins describes the Flywheel effect as a slow and steady process of building momentum. At the beginning, pushing the flywheel is tough, and progress seems minimal. But with consistent effort and determination, it starts to move faster and with greater ease. This concept was a revelation for me. It mirrored the journey many of us face in prison – the initial struggles, the perseverance, and eventually, the rewards of consistent hard work.

Another transformative idea was the BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Collins emphasizes the importance of setting ambitious, long-term goals that might seem almost unattainable. For me, this meant not just getting through my sentence, but using that time to lay the groundwork for significant, lasting change upon my release. I wanted to influence positive changes and improve outcomes for justice-impacted individuals. This BHAG became a guiding light, motivating me to work harder and aim higher.

3) How will reading this book contribute to my success upon release?

“Good to Great” has been instrumental in shaping my post-release journey. The Flywheel concept taught me the value of daily, consistent efforts. Every course I developed, every article I wrote, and every speech I delivered added momentum to my personal flywheel. Over time, these efforts compounded, making subsequent endeavors smoother and more impactful.

The BHAG concept inspired me to create the course, “Preparing for Success after Prison.” I wanted to provide justice-impacted individuals with the tools and knowledge to transform their lives, just as I had. By aiming for this audacious goal, I was able to rally support, resources, and partnerships that might have seemed out of reach otherwise.

Even now, over a decade after my release, the teachings of “Good to Great” continue to influence my work. I am constantly reminded of the importance of perseverance, vision, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.


To all the readers, I challenge you to pick up a book that resonates with your goals and aspirations. Dive deep into its teachings, reflect on its lessons, and think about how you can apply them to your life. Remember, it’s not just about reading; it’s about internalizing and implementing. And as you embark on this journey of self-improvement, I invite you to join us at Prison Professors Talent. Document your progress, your learnings, and your aspirations. Send an invite to [email protected] and let’s work together to build a brighter future.

Michael Santos, founder of Prison Professors Talent

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