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Rude Awakening: The Rise, Fall, and Struggle for Recovery of General Motors Paperback – September, 1990


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Investment analyst, financial columnist and PBS-TV panelist Keller here retells how General Motors, a long-dominant, complacent corporate giant, was jolted by the 1970s oil embargos and by foreign competition. These developments led to massive company reorganization in the '80s under ebullient GM chairman Roger Smith, and to the joint GM-Toyota production of the Chevy Nova using Japanese concepts of worker participation. In a straightforward but engaging style, Keller recalls the corporate thrashings, as success, lost in a maze of missed opportunities, kept eluding GM. Astonishing accounts of human failures emerge as the author spins this sorry industrial saga, which ends on a barely hopeful note.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Automotive analyst Keller's detached prose makes this chronicle of General Motors' management process read like a business school case study. As well as illustrating the already well-known arrogance of GM management, Keller also provides balanced, fascinating accounts of GM's watershed decisions, such as the partnership with Japanese makers, the acquisition of Ross Perot's EDS Corporation, and its involvement with the Saturn project. The future of GM, according to Keller, is not at all clear, and her analysis of the options is intriguing. More objective than Call Me Roger ( LJ 4/1/88), Albert Lee's vituperative analysis of GM CEO Roger Smith, this corporate history should be purchased.
- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad . Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060973420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060973421
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,503,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Mancuso on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a real eye opener at the growing incompetency of many of General Motors' top executives, too many of whom do not know the nature of the automotive business. Too many CEO's who ran the company came from the ranks of accountants who know little or nothing about building cars that people want to by. It outlines the many screwups of Roger Smith that made the UAW such a militant union that it has been.I would urge that President Barack Obama buy and read this book so that he gets a better idea of what has been building up over a period of years. I think this book will give Mr. Obama a better idea of the nature of the beast he is dealing with and General Motors is one hell of a sick beast.
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By Jeff Spear on January 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
The author is a well-known financial analyst who followed the auto industry for decades. Because of her stature in the industry, she was afforded access to high-ranking insiders. While she shares some history up to 1980, the book chronicles the events of the 1980s in great detail, with lots of first person references. Some think the captains of industry and the organizations they manage are paragons of virtue and meritocracy respectively. Keller show us just how human these places are, bordering on dictatorial and arcane. My first impression along the way was that her biases limited the sharing of whatever good news had come from GM during that period of time. Her intention, however, was to paint 'the General' with broad strokes, in an effort to determine the longer-term viability of what was a sick corporation in 1989. She was, after all, an analyst.

To her credit, she nailed the problems GM had with various products, exposing development processes that were doomed to fail. She also was prescient in her evaluation of the Saturn project. Twenty years and billions of losses later, her analysis proved accurate. After the book was published, the mistakes seemed to compound, reflecting the continuation of bad decision-making protocols and a culture of "yes". (As an example, Saab, purchased in 1990 and 2000, wound up being a total loss.)

Other books I recommend are "Chrome Colossus", "On a Clear Day, You Can See General Motors" and "Car Guys and Bean Counters". Reading these, you are likely to see similar themes. One can only hope that life is better there today. Recent results seem to bear that out.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teresa on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my father who is a GM nut and he wanted to add to his collection. It was a used book, but it looks pretty much brand new. Arrived in perfect shape.
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