Good to Great to Gone: The 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City

Good to Great to Gone: The 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City

by Alan L. Wurtzel


$21.98 $25.95 Save 15% Current price is $21.98, Original price is $25.95. You Save 15%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938120114
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 10/30/2012
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 3.90(d)

About the Author

Former CEO of Circuit City Stores, Alan Wurtzel led Circuit City to be one of the nation’s largest retailers of consumer electronics and appliances. He joined the company in 1966 as Vice President of Legal Affairs, served as CEO from 1972 to 1986. He was Chairman of the Board from 1984 to 1994 and Vice-Chairman from 1994 to 2001. Circuit City was profiled as one of 11 companies in Jim Collins’ bestselling book, Good to Great.

Since retiring from Circuit City, Wurtzel has split his time between for profit and not for profit activities. Early on, much of his time was devoted to higher education and K-12 educational reform. He’s served as a trustee of Virginia Commonwealth University, a member of the Virginia Board of Education and the State Council for Higher Education. He was also a director of several not-for-profit standards-based education policy organizations including New American Schools, National Center of Education and the Economy, and the Council for Basic Education. As a member of Virginia’s State Board of Education, he actively participated in the formulation and adoption of the current Standards of Learning program.

In the private sector, Wurtzel served as Director of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and from 1989 to 1996, he served on the Board of Office Depot. He has been an active investor in startup companies and remains on the Board of two privately held companies.

Currently Wurtzel is a trustee of The Phillips Collection, where he has been active in developing and spearheading its expansion and investment plans, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an environmental group dedicated to saving the Bay and his alma mater, Oberlin College.

Wurtzel received a B.A. from Oberlin College and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is married to the playwright, Irene Rosenberg Wurtzel, and has three grown children. He lives in Washington, D.C. and Delaplane, Virginia.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Alan Wurtzel led Circuit City to extraordinary success, one of a small handful of Fortune 500 companies to make a leap from good to great. Years later, Circuit City ceased to exist. Any understanding of what makes great companies tick must also consider the question of how they can fall. Alan Wurtzel’s own analysis of the company he built to greatness, and its subsequent demise, adds to our understanding."

Jim Collins
Author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall

“Good to Great to Gone illustrates the vital importance of listening to your customers. Without them your company has nothing.”

Tony Hsieh
NY Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, Inc.

“Alan Wurtzel’s Good to Great to Gone adds color and context to many of the compelling business strategy principles outlined in the Pursuit of Excellence.”

Robert Waterman
Co-author of In Search of Excellence

“Circuit City, founded when the South’s first TV station opened in Richmond in 1949, went on to become an iconic Virginia company. It was the premier TV and appliance retailer in America with more than 500 stores from coast to coast and sales exceeding $10 billion. Alan Wurtzel, the CEO who conceived the strategy that took his family business from Good to Great, focuses on the development of business strategies and the habits of mind that brought Circuit City to the top and then to the dust bin of Virginia business history. He tells the dramatic story in a compelling way.”

Mark R. Warner
U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Good to Great to Gone: The 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read this book and personally knew Mr. Wurtzel during my years at Circuit City from 1982-1985 and 1995-1997. The earlier years were the best for me although I put in easily 14 hour days sometimes to keep the POS system up and running. The basic issue I see from a business perspective is - the culture changed - not of the people but of the management. The later management including the board apparently did not have visibility, accountability and morality of the earlier owners. This was, in my mind, the #1 reason for the decline and eventually death of Circuit City. Reading this book was like watching a train wreck happen in slow motion. It wasn't pleasant. Ever hear of the Abilene Paradox? The writing in this book details classic examples of the paradox. Classic case of having "Yes" men and women running the business when you need at least one person to be obstinate, churlish and curmudgeon to put the brakes on bad ideas. I saw a few grammatical errors and typographic errors in the book but I worked around them. Sorry to see Circuit City go - I knew a lot of people affected by the bad decisions. Signed, Good Years, Good Times.