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Driving Honda: Inside the World's Most Innovative Car Company Hardcover – July 31, 2014
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“Great investors profit by running counter to the crowd, and in this respect Rothfeder’s superb and readable book is the story of a great corporate contrarian. It explains how Honda’s idiosyncratic and often counterintuitive approaches to leadership, innovation, and growth have enabled it to prosper in a hypercompetitive industry dominated by giants.”
—John A. Casesa, senior managing director, Guggenheim Partners
“Driving Honda is a fascinating look at one of the world’s great iconoclastic corporations. Through extensive access to high-level Honda executives, Rothfeder dives deep into a corporate culture that sidesteps traditional hierarchy and remains devoted to individualism, accountability, and collaboration, proving that no organization is too large or established to stop thinking like a lean, flexible start-up.”
—Keith Ferrazzi, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Who’s Got Your Back and Never Eat Alone
“In this highly readable and entertaining book, Rothfeder details how Honda has successfully navigated globalization through a unique strategy. This strategy should be a model for other multinationals to follow.”
—Ray Kwong, senior advisor, USC US-China Institute, and Forbes contributor
“This highly readable book reveals the key to Honda's success: a culture of openness, innovation, and relentless commitment to quality. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the future of manufacturing in America."
—Subir Chowdhury, Author of The Power of LEO and The Power of Six Sigma
“A fascinating and insightful analysis.”
“A case study of the methods required to revive manufacturing industries.”
“Rothfeder’s inside look at research and development and details about engines, motors, and assembly lines make this book an engineering or manufacturing fanatic’s dream, but readers from all industries will enjoy this entertaining and informative work.”
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Superb…A powerful corporate parable about how sticking to your guns can lead to real success.”
—Engineering and Technology Magazine
“Clear well-researched history makes for an entertaining lesson on how a relatively modest Japanese motorcycle company took on the giants of the US automotive industry in their own backyard—and succeeded.”
—Professional Engineering Magazine
About the Author
More About the Author
Rothfeder has won numerous journalism awards including Excellence in Technology Writing, the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award and the American Society of Business Publications Editors award for feature writing. He has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and was part of the team at Popular Science that won a National Magazine Award in 2004. His articles have appeared in CondeNast Portfolio Magazine, The New York Times, PC World, Chief Executive, St. Petersburg Times, Science, This Old House, Popular Science, CIO Insight, Consumer Reports and Forbes, among many other publications.
Among his books, "Make or Break" was a Wall Street Journal bestseller; "McIlhenny's Gold" was a Library Journal Best Business Book, 2007 and Top 10 Nonfiction Book: JP Morgan's Prestigious 2008 Summer Reading List; "Every Drop For Sale" was Nominated for National Outdoor Book Award: "Nature and Environment Book of the Year"; and "Privacy For Sale" was named National Computer Book of the Year.
In his spare time, Rothfeder sees himself as a jazz and pop composer; the truth about that, like many things, is in the eye of the beholder.
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately American business has, for the most part, taken the short view. This tells the story of a different way.
1) A biography of the man behind Honda, Sochiro Honda & his business partner - Takeo Fujisawa.
2) A look into the principles behind Honda.
3) And a look into the overall impact of Honda in today's climate and it's developments during the time.
Reviewer note: I don't drive a Honda, but I have always found the story behind it interesting. Solid 8.5 I believe. Could have ended with the first two parts!
Of the three main parts, I felt the first part was the most interesting. At the age of 15 - Sochiro Honda was interested in the Model T Ford car and eventually took on a full fledged mechanic job at Art Shokai. He eventually opens a shop in his old village, and his break through begins when he develops a cast iron spoke & licenses it. Later on, he attempts to make pistons, but 47/50 were rejected by Toyota (he wasn't making cars yet!). He decided that it was due to his lack of knowledge and he enrolled in numerous things just to gain the knowledge while shadowing factories. He never finished that degree, 'dropped out' and eventually held 28 patents for piston rings & manufacturing!
"Success", Honda said, "can be achieved only though repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents one percent of your work, which results only from the ninety nine percent that is failure."
He eventually started making bikes (originally for his wife) and there was a point in time he was near bankruptcy - which brought him to make a decision inviting a business partner Takeo Fujisawa. They worked together, challenged each other and formed the basis of Honda today.Read more ›
The author wants to prove that Honda is a better company than Toyota and cherry picks data to prove his point. He loves the Ridgeline pickup but ignores the fact that Toyota outsells Honda 20 to 1 in this market. He mentions several times that Honda developed the first hybrid but ignores the Prius. He gushes over Acura but doesn’t mention that Lexus outsells it 2 to 1 in the U.S. He seems to be miffed that Toyota was featured in James Womack’s book The Machine That Changed the World and determined to set the record straight.
His comments about technology and the history of the auto industry are laughable. He claims that most auto manufacturers outsource engine production. He doesn’t realize that Packard was established long before Chrysler. His discussion of air cooling vs. water cooling is babble. He ends the book with a weird chapter on the evils of globalization rather than a discussion of Honda's future.
Honda is a great company with great products. It deserves a great book. This is not it.
I would recommend this to even the gearheads out there even though it aims more to my Repair/Manufacturing side.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you love engineering or just the sheer search for perfection, this book is for you!Published 9 days ago by Brad Sterner
Really enjoyed this read! A great primer on Lean it also describes the heart of a company that makes me want to buy their products. Great book.Published 2 months ago by Timothy S. Walker
Interesting insight into the man — and mem — who practiced what they preached in building the Honda Corporation. Read morePublished 6 months ago by N. Ron White
Great story and ingenuity. This company made the U.S. companies look bad.Published 9 months ago by Roger G Leblond
Good overview of Honda. I worked there for 5 years and it is really one of the best companies to work for. Looking forward to what comes out of HRAPublished 9 months ago by dragon kid
Honda is not among the top five carmakers, Honda luxury car brand is unknown to most, however Honda is extremely successful in everything they make, from small sedans, hatches,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by czilveti
Well researched and well written. I enjoyed the first and last chapters the most .
The book is not only about Honda, but it also contributes with interesting and somehow... Read more
I have many Honda Books. This one adds to my collection of Mr. Honda and the company he created from a small motorcyle in 1948. Great book. I really enjoyed reading it. ThanksPublished 10 months ago by John Petas