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American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company Paperback – February 5, 2013
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“A standout…brimming with smart observations and fresh insights into Ford’s success.” –Alex Taylor, Fortune
“Fly-on-the-wall accounts of Mulally negotiating deals and Ford overcoming challenges from the inside and outside…A paean to the ingenuity, grit and optimism that once defined American industry and to capitalism played with government on the sidelines.” –Reuters
“A compelling narrative that reads more like a thriller than a business book.” –New York Times
“A must-read.” –Huffington Post
“A fascinating read for anyone who follows the car industry.” –Financial Times
“A Detroit News journalist’s in-the-room account of the resurrection of America’s most storied car company…With colorful anecdotes, sharp character sketches, telling details and a firm understanding of the industry, Hoffman fleshes out every aspect of this tale, reminding us of the hard work, tension, and high-stakes drama that preceded the successful result.” —Kirkus
“Bryce Hoffman has done a stellar job of capturing the Ford story—and more to the point showing us how Mulally did it. American Icon is a story of leadership that offers valuable lessons for organizations of all sizes.” —Lee Iacocca
“Bryce G. Hoffman’s American Icon brilliantly recounts the Lazarus-like resurgence of the Ford Motor Company under the bold and inspiring leadership of CEO Alan Mulally. Hoffman, one of America’s best auto industry reporters, has written a timely book about the relevance of Ford that serves as a larger metaphor for America at large. Highly recommend!” —Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University, and author of Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress
“Bryce Hoffman has written a riveting tome based on deep insider information about the resurrection of the Ford Motor Company from a near death experience and the establishment of a business model that promises to be a prototype for large organizations of all types. It features the transformation from a top-down style of leadership to that of a coach led by CEO Alan Mulally whose focus is the team, the team, the team.” —David E. Cole, chairman emeritus, Center for Automotive Research
“From the precipitous demise of an American icon through decades of infighting and self-destructive management to a turnaround not only financial but also in terms of forging the foundation of a new, healthy culture, this book reads like an un-put-downable novel. Bryce Hoffman’s amazing inside access tells the story of how Alan Mullally built on Henry Ford’s own management principles—which quickly got lost in the company—and created one company, with one purpose and a passion for product and customers. A great story.” —Jeffrey Liker, professor, University of Michigan, and author of The Toyota Way
“Amazing. I would give Alan Mulally twelve D’s for his work at Ford, for Discipline, Data, Daring, Determination, Design, Direction, Decisiveness, Delivery, Doubt-Free, Debt Free, Downsizing, and of course, Dearborn. I thought I was disciplined until I read how Mulally worked. Bryce is a gifted writer, and American Icon is both educational and entertaining. Most telling of all—I learned from reading this book.” —Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President, Walt Disney World Resort, and author of Creating Magic
“After decades of stories about the failure of America’s traditional industries to meet world competition, it is heartening to encounter a signal success. But Bryce Hoffman’s rendering of how Alan Mulally reversed the fortunes of Ford Motor is more than heartening; it is riveting. Almost certainly one of the best business books of the year.” —H. W. Brands, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, and author of Traitor to His Class and The First American
“This superbly reported book is not just about cars. It is an authoritative and inspiring account of leadership, management, corporate culture, and the prospects for American manufacturing.” —John Taylor, author of Storming the Magic Kingdom
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
BRYCE G. HOFFMAN is an award-winning journalist who has covered the auto industry, both in the United States and around the world, since 1998. He began covering Ford Motor Company for the Detroit News in 2005. That beat gave him a front-row seat for many of the events chronicled in American Icon. Hoffman has been honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, and others for his coverage of Ford and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the automaker. He lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
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Top Customer Reviews
You are instantly endeared to Bill Ford as a man that can put aside his own ego for the good of the company he loves, and you root for Alan Mullaly throughout the book even though we already know Ford made it through to the other side. His belief in his system and his ability to completely change the corporate culture of a multi-national company are truly inspiring.
Outside the story itself, there are all sorts of interesting factoids to be found such as how the common stock was set up to ensure the Ford family maintained voting rights, and how neither Chrysler or General Motors would've survived if President Obama had stuck to President Bush's original requirements. The book delivers on so many different levels. I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in business or just an interest in a great story.
The preface indicates that Bryce Hoffman had unprecedented access to Ford employees and what otherwise would be secret internal documents that would generally never see the light of day. No doubt, this story couldn't be told if it weren't for the willingness of the players to be interviewed and provide their notes and innermost thoughts to Hoffman.
The book reads neutral. Hoffman provides no perceived editorial to the events that unfolded. The author is a master storyteller, writing about actual events, human reactions and internal procedures and strife. What is most remarkable about his writing style is how the characters are humanized, not so much by the author's effort, but by his incorporation of the relevant facts about a situation, dialog, meeting or place which reminds us that those involved were a lot more like those of us reading the book than they were captains of industry.
In some circles writers and journalists have been criticized for painting Mulally in much too positive a light as Ford's savior. I suppose Hoffman could have that same accusation made about his coverage of Mulally in "American Icon". But the book provides so much background detail about meetings and personal interactions that it becomes very clear early in the book that Mulally really is as genuine and down-to-earth as he has been portrayed in other media. Hoffman also documents that Mulally knows about his honest personality and uses that to his advantage when meeting with cross-town rivals, union leaders, the media and even Congress.
Bill Ford is also treated fairly and his roll in all of the mess is made crystal clear. Again, Hoffman demystifies Ford's roll, corrects many of my own assumptions about who he is personally and also provides some insight into the types of individuals in the Ford family. The topic of the Ford family comes up a number of times in the book and Hoffman lays out very squarely that some of the family are nothing more than decedents of the fortune who have no daily connection to the company, and others as mid-level managers, learning and guiding the business, who live and breathe by the companies success and failure and desperately want it to succeed. In some respects the book portrays the family as having to learn to surrender to this hand picked outsider (Mulally) and they have never really had to trust somebody off the street to save their enterprise.
This is a must read for anyone who wishes to study the modern American auto industry and get an in-depth picture of one organizations response to financial crises which were both self created and forced upon them by the external environment.