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Showing 1-10 of 35 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 52 reviews
on January 20, 2014
This book is a case study in extremes; extremely good and extremely annoying. On one hand it provides a fascinating look at the work done to salvage the automotive industry from the industry's own negligent management. The author deserves great credit for calling characters for what they were and I feel gratitude for his willingness to share his experience with common folk outside the Beltway. On the other hand, the early chapters were so packed with little quips about how much the big political names wanted the author to take the position ("America will be better off if you do this…") and how much money the author spent to go through the vetting process, that one should either skip the first four chapters or drink heavily before reading them. Some of my favorite self-aggrandizing statements by the author include his needlessly sharing a news outlet's estimation of his net worth and his suggestion that this experience was a great "sacrifice." Sacrifice? When the role has obviously elevated his public visibility and enhanced his capacity draw big business in the future, I doubt it. In short, it is not a sacrifice if you gain and Rattner clearly gained from having played a critical part in the automotive industry bailout. The suggestion that he has "suffered" because of this "sacrifice" is disingenuous. He stepped up. He got it right. He should stop pretending not to be the better for it.

Ultimately, Rattner got it correct and he deserves credit. His instincts about GM officers and directors, about GM and about the role the company plays in the US economy have all been proven to be correct. Subsequent to those early impressions, his decisions (and those of his team) have also proven correct. I disagree with other reviews suggesting that this book contained "cheap shots" at certain individuals. From my perspective, Rattner had the guts to call things for what they were and it is this integrity that kicked GM back to life before sitting down to provide us with a better understanding of what happened and why. For that, we are fortunate that this book exists.

Unfortunately, this book would be less annoying to read if Rattner understood that information about his net worth and his desirability among the Washington elite is of little virtue outside Wall Street and the Beltway. Perhaps the only thing Rattner needs in life is an editor endowed with a perspective greater than Wall Street and the Beltway- someone to save him from talking about his own money and "did I tell you about the time Chuck Schumer called?"

Yes. Yes Steven, you did. Several times. Now about the facts behind the bailout…

-Michael
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on January 27, 2011
This book is ok. Nothing great but not horrible.

He wasted a lot of ink using details that don't matter. Such as who was setting where and what clothes they wore. Also he seems childish taking cheap shots at various people.

On page 277 he is talking about some of Chrysler's improvments and metnions the Dodge STRATUS which is not even produced anymore. Maybe he meant the Avenger, which would be correct, but I wonder if he even knew this.

He appears arrogant but what else would you expect from someone with his background?

I recommend this book though. I plan on reading the other books regarding the industry so it will be interesting to compare to this one. I don't believe everything he wrote in the book but most is probably valid.
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on January 1, 2012
I worked for Ford for 35 years and was fortunate enough to retire a year before things went terribly wrong in Detroit. I wasn't there to witness events first hand, but as a long time veteran of the industry I found Steve's book fascinating. I especially enjoyed his outsider perspective and his candid comments on the personalities involved.

Although, I believe that many of his impressions of the industry and those that struggled with its complexity everyday are not completely correct, I nevertheless found his business sense and fresh eyes insight quite refreshing.

Part of the charm of the book is his willingness to simply tell us directly what he saw and though as events unfolded. He's not afraid to give us his thoughts on all the players:government officials, auto executives, union officials and bankers.

It's a large complex industry so I found it quite amusing that he and his team thought they could learn about the Auto Industry in a one day visit to Detroit. Nevertheless the trip made a great story. And what the Executives showed him on that day spoke volumes about their understanding(or misunderstanding) of their business and their present dire situation.

The book doesn't pretend to be anything more than one person's view of events. But it's a fascinating story.

According to Mr. Rattner it is "one of the few actions taken by the administration that, at least in my opinion, can be pronounced an unambiguous success." He adds, "Detroit should count itself lucky." On that last point there can be no doubt.
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on December 10, 2012
I bought the book as a 'car guy' after having read Lutz's "Car Guys vs. Bean Counters." As I read it I came to appreciate it for the insights into the process the administration went through to finally decide what to do. (It also afforded an additional perspective on Lutz himself as his book touched on some of the chronology covered in "Overhaul.") There were precious few easy decisions involved. Rattner is a pretty good writer, obsessive in the way one might expect (or even desire) a numbers guy to be. He seems to have struggled mightily with wanting to do well by the country; he felt it a good faith duty, a chance to make a positive difference, an opportunity to exercise his patriotism. I found this account especially relevant having read it in the wind up to this year's Presidential election.
A *good* read for political junkies or for car guys/gals - but a *must* read for those who are both!
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on December 15, 2012
Steven Rattner absolutely captured the very essence of what a tough and courageous decision President Obama made in saving the U.S. Auto industry. Steve convinced me that it was indeed the right decision and not only saved Michigan, Illinois. Ohio and Indiana jobs but all through the nation for other plants serving the auto industry. Right here in South Carolina I know for a fact that it kept one textile plant open and re-opened one which had been shuttered. Kudos to the Rattner team and the outstanding job he did in putting it all together for presentation to the president. Jack Evans
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on November 16, 2010
This is a solid book written by, Steven Rattner, a career Democrat. As a conservative, I'm always on the lookout for bias in sources but I found Rattner's account of the events of the GM, Chrysler, and Ford bailouts to be fair. He admits his bias up front which is fine with me. This was especially evident in his impartial treatment of Senator Corker. Personally, I don't have a lot of experience with the Big Three or the world of finance so I am not in a position to assess the author's authenticity as a historian. I found his story persuasive and honest. Overhaul is not an indictment of the Obama Administration. It provides some interesting insight concerning Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama, and Larry Summers. Admittedly, some of the quotes they would not want to get in general circulation but Rattner's text has no "gotcha" in it. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was good but not great. It flowed quickly and was entertaining. I also found it educational as most of the inside baseball that occurred was previously unknown to me.
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on December 30, 2010
I am well-aligned with most of the 4/5 star reviews of this work. It is, at this time, the most insightful and essential documentation of the self-imposed crises that befell GM and Chrysler. I think time enough has passed for most people to have gotten over the issue as to whether or not the US Gov't, essentially the Exec branch, (thank goodness, leave it to Congress and we might be living in the United States of Toyota) should have intervened in these enterprises. The President was acting on behalf of the nation in his efforts to preserve a piece of our eroding manufacturing base. And I don't believe Constitutional issues were at stake here.
The facts as portrayed here by Mr. Rattner (and let us not overlook the extraordinary and brilliant and VERY hard-working, self-sacrificing, way under compensated team he led)reveal that GM and Chrysler were in a certain death spiral and did not have the means and foresight nor the management acumen to pull it together even if our economic recovery in '09-'10 were much brisker than it turned out to be.
OK, Mr. Rattner is a bit vain, but it is not blatant, and as he has stated that this effort may turn out to be the crowning achievement of his business life.
Now let's see how he fairs under Andy Cuomo's successor at the NY AG's office; my guess is that it will be "settled" just as he did with the SEC. (Believe it to have been approx $6.4M)
UPDATE: 12/30/2010, 1815 EST: He settled with NY AG for $10M plus being banned from appearing before any public pension fund within New York for five years.
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on November 23, 2014
He's honest and thorough. He establishes without doubt that Team Auto was entirely in charge of both bailouts. A central contribution to the recorded history of what transpired behind the headlines.
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on October 24, 2013
steven rattner gave a self serving accounting of himself during the crisis. At times it was entertaining and informative. He carried the water for the Obama administration.
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on January 15, 2015
excellent acocunt, but missing the financial summary at the end of the book - so how much did the taxpayer pay and what did they get back??
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