“In his terrific new book, Collapse, science writer Jared Diamond examines some of the most famous failed civilizations of prehistory and history, from Easter Islanders and the Anasazi of New Mexico to the Viking settlers of Greenland. I bought the book because I found the subtitle intriguing: How Societies Choose to Fail. I had never considered the possibility that they had a choice in the matter, but it turns out they do.
Diamond concludes that societies collapse when they fall on hard times and make one or more of four fundamental mistakes:
1) They fail to anticipate problems.
2) They don’t respond promptly when problems arrive.
3) They exhibit something he calls “bad” rational behavior.
4) They adopt “disastrous values.”
I don’t know about you, but I think this is a pretty good list for business failure, too.