The book is a study of successful companies that had some significant failure, often resulting in terminal collapse. The five stages he identifies are:
- Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success
- Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
- Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
- Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation
- Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death
This reminded me of the feature of the successful companies that Collins calls 'the hedgehog concept' : "having a simple, extremely clear concept of what their business is".