Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham is a book that explores the concept of "small giants" — companies that intentionally choose not to pursue rapid growth and instead focus on excellence, customer satisfaction, and a strong company culture. The book highlights businesses that have found success and fulfillment by prioritizing qualities other than size and expansion. Here are the key ideas from the book:
The Small Giants Philosophy
The central idea of the book is that greatness in business does not necessarily mean rapid growth or striving to become a large corporation. Small giants are companies that prioritize being great at what they do rather than being big for the sake of bigness.
Quality Over Quantity
Small giants focus on delivering high-quality products or services and building strong, lasting relationships with customers, suppliers, and employees. They prioritize excellence over mass production.
Company Culture
These companies cultivate a strong company culture that aligns with their values and mission. They often have a deep sense of purpose and a commitment to making a positive impact on their employees and communities.
Customer-Centric Approach
Small giants are known for their dedication to customer satisfaction and exceptional customer service. They prioritize understanding and meeting customer needs.
Leadership and Vision
The book explores the role of visionary leaders who are deeply committed to the success and well-being of their companies. These leaders often have a long-term perspective and are willing to make unconventional choices.
Community Engagement
Small giants are active in their communities and take social responsibility seriously. They seek to make a positive difference locally and often contribute to charitable causes.
Employee Engagement and Development
These companies invest in their employees' growth and well-being. They provide opportunities for personal and professional development and foster a sense of belonging and purpose among their teams.
Resisting Outside Pressures
Small giants often face external pressures to grow, such as investor expectations or industry norms, but they consciously choose to resist these pressures in favor of their own values and goals.
Profit with a Purpose
The book highlights the idea that small giants can be highly profitable while also pursuing a broader purpose beyond financial success.
Examples of Small Giants
Throughout the book, Burlingham profiles several companies that exemplify the small giants philosophy, including Anchor Brewing, Clif Bar, The Wooster Brush Company, and others.
Challenges and Lessons
Burlingham discusses the challenges and lessons learned by small giants on their journey to greatness. These challenges often include finding the right balance between growth and maintaining the company's core values.
Inspiration for Others
"Small Giants" serves as inspiration for entrepreneurs and business leaders who are considering alternative paths to success that prioritize values, culture, and excellence over rapid expansion.

The book "Small Giants" celebrates the idea that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to business success and that greatness can be achieved in various ways. It encourages readers to question conventional wisdom and consider what truly matters to them and their organizations on the path to building great businesses.