Scaling Up Excellence – A Book

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less is a book seven years in the making.Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less is a book seven years in the making. As academic directors of a Stanford executive program, the authors were constantly asked with different versions of the same question: how do they spread pockets of excellence across the organization fast? The book is the result of interviews, research and case studies that deal with scaling challenges, the necessary mindset to make it successful, and the essential characteristics of teams that guided these efforts. It discusses the key decisions and principles that would help the expansion to be less demanding and much easier for people.

Book Details

The hardcover book measures 5.8 inches wide, 1.3 inches thick, 8.5 inches long, and weighs about 15.2 ounces. It has 368 pages divided into 8 chapters. Aside from the hardcover format, it is also available in paperback, Kindle and audio CD formats. This first edition was published by Crown Business Publishing in February 2014 in the English language. ISBN-10: 0385347022; ISBN-13: 978-0385347020


$17.80 for the hardcover version, $6.75 for the paperback version, $12.34 for the Kindle version, and $46.70 for the audio CD version

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Target Audience

Scaling Up Excellence is for executives, senior management, and leaders of organizations. It is for people who are responsible for spreading, repeating, or replicating constructive beliefs and behaviors across the organization. Management consultants and executive coaches can also benefit greatly from this well-researched book.

What Customers Say

Terri G. (Amazon) described the book as informative, compelling, and valuable. The authors of Scaling Up Excellence offer a comprehensive guide to management with enticing stories supported by references to high-end research. This book will provide value to anyone who would like to see organizations improve.

Derek D. (B&N) described it as a great book full of information and very well written. It has useful reminders to management, and can be read again from time to time. He found the book very long, though.

Nina S. (Goodreads) stated that Scaling Up Excellence contains good examples and solid precepts. Overall, it has a lot of good content, but kind of run out of steam in the last quarter. However, what she found uncommon and really appreciated was the inclusion of many real-world examples in which women were the scale leaders.

Content, Approach, Style

Content: Scaling Up Excellence‘s 8 chapters are divided into 3 parts. The first part covers the first 2 chapters about setting the stage for scaling. Part 2 discusses the scaling principles, while Part 3 is about parting points. The Preface introduces the primary problem, called the Problem of More. It is the challenge of building and uncovering pockets of exemplary performance, spreading it, and recharging the organization with better ways of doing the work at hand. The rest of the book discusses the 7 scaling mantras, such as ‘Spread a mindset, not just a footprint,’ and ‘Engage all the senses,’ among others.

Approach/Tone: The authors approach the topics directly and with the use of many examples and case studies. They also use comparisons and contrasts to help present their points easily. Important ideas and principles are consistently repeated throughout the book.

Style: The book is well organized, with the problem presented at the very start. It is then followed by the discussion of major principles in scaling, proceeding in a logical order, and then supported by examples. Some paragraphs are too long, but the complete narration of the story will show the important lesson at the end.

Why Buy the Book

Scaling Up Excellence is a valuable book for organization leaders due to the rigorous evidence and theory that it compiled, as well as the relevant observations and advice it offers to readers. It is a unique book such that no single book has been devoted to tackling scaling up problems the way it did.


Professor Robert Sutton is a Professor of Management Science and Engineering, and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in organizational psychology at the University of Michigan. Bob Sutton is a specialist in organizational change, leadership, innovation, the links between managerial knowledge and organizational action, scaling excellence, and workplace dynamics. He is a Senior Scientist at Gallup, and a best-selling author of several books including No Asshole Rule, Good Boss, Bad Boss, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense, and The Asshole Survival Guide. Dr. Sutton tweets at Work Matters and provides keynote speeches across the US and internationally.

Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao is Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Professor Rao received his doctoral degree in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University – Weatherhead School of Management. He studies collective action, has won research and teaching awards, and has received Fellowships from a very selective group of scientists, professors and researchers. He leads workshops and is an academic director of several Stanford executive programs, including Soul of a Startup: Young Presidents Organization, and Customer-Focused Innovation.

$17.80 for the hardcover version, $6.77 for the paperback version, $12.34 for the Kindle version, and $46.70 for the audio CD version

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