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Where Have All the Leaders Gone? Hardcover – April 17, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 408 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Iacocca, the bestselling author and former president of Ford and Chrysler, is back to sound a howl of anger against the sad state of leadership in the U.S. today. Iacocca starts with a rundown of sins committed by George W. Bush and his administration, and then moves on to criticize the American auto industry-naturally, he's furious over over the sale of Chrysler to Daimler-Benz. Along the way, Iacocca rails against the lack of leadership in vital national concerns such as health care, open markets and energy policy. Iacocca may not have a whole lot new to say, but he is always engaging, even when spinning his wheels over the current crop of presidential hopefuls or recommending that Congress take a year off from enacting laws or spending money. The book's strength lies in Iacocca's emotional honesty, which shines when he details the reasons he passed on a Presidential run, how he felt when his wife died and his frustration at the poor decisions he's made during his retirement (fessing up to voting for Bush in 2000 and handpicking the executive who sold Chrysler to the Germans). Iacocca is a genial person to spend time with, but his insights no longer carry the weight that made his autobiography, Iacocca, a runaway bestseller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Iacocca is outraged. Now 82, he has seen the U.S. overcome some of its worst crises, including the Great Depression and World War II, through great leadership. As the CEO of Chrysler Corporation, he brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy and worked with the government to overcome the fallout from the 1970s oil crisis. Now, he says, our government has fallen under the grip of arrogant ideologues and spineless detractors. Our business leaders are more obsessed with stock options and trumping each other's multimillion-dollar salaries than with finding creative solutions to pressing problems, such as the health-care crisis, our loss of competitive edge in the global marketplace, the massive trade deficit, and the slow death of the middle class. He describes his frustration as his successor at Chrysler sold out to Daimler-Benz, and the once proud, independent company lost its soul. Although Iacocca presents a brutal analysis of cronyism in Washington, D.C., the abysmal situation in Iraq, and failed policies at home, he is not a pessimist. With a reputation as a straight shooter, he hopes to inspire more young people to vote. This is a surprisingly outspoken take on the pressing need for real leadership in this country. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532477
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (408 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAME on April 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Iacocca comes out with both guns blazing from page one, and never stops til the last page. Iacocca provides readers with a clear, concise summary of our major problems - escalating healthcare costs and deficits, a border that is a sieve, an energy crisis, losing manufacturing to Asia, leadership that doesn't face these key issues (instead the Senate debates flag-burning for three days, while giving no time to Iacocca's concerns), and a President given a free pass to ignore the Constitution and tap our phones after leading us to war on a pack of lies.

Iacocca then goes on to provide clear and credible recommendations for each of these problems, and along the way offers his own framework (eg. curiosity, creative, courage, competent, common sense) for describing/evaluating leadership and then uses that framework to succinctly assess Bush II and the major candidates vying to take his place.

Another major "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" suggestion is that Congress take a year off and pass no new legislation - instead evaluate programs that already exist. Iacocca points out that the "War on Drugs" has consumed about $1 trillion, while little, if anything has been accomplished. And what has been accomplished, he asks, of maintaining an on-going decades-long feud with Castro?

The "bad news" is that Iacocca once considered running for President, but was talked out of it by then House Speaker (and friend) Tip O'Neill. O'Neill told Iacocca that the job would drive him nuts - too hard to get anything done (basically the same comment President Truman offered then General Eisenhower). Nonetheless, the "good news" is that Iacocca's lessons in leadership skills couldn't help but be invaluable to moving America forward.
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Format: Hardcover
Every American should read this book. Lee Iacocca is a hero to those who worked for Chrysler during the 1970-1990 period -- and to those who held its stock during those years. He persuaded Congress to lend $10 billion to the company, and then paid back every dime.

Now he criticizes the Bush administration, the Democrats, the young, and the rest of us -- and he is absolutely right in every respect. Bush is a disaster; the Democrats have no courage; the young are over-entertained; and the rest of us fail to demand that our political leaders lead us in sensible directions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book earns my vote for top transpartisan book of the decade, along with "All Rise" (see link below). This great man is saying things that I and others have been saying since 2000, but because of his stature, we now finally have the national enema that we all need. Lee Iacocca, in my personal view, should link up with Reuniting America, and volunteer to form a Sunshine Cabinet of transpartisan retired leaders (corporate, military, law enforcement, education, and others). We need to show America that it is possible to create a balanced sustainable budget, and to have common sense priorities.

The book opens with a discussion of the nine C's of leadership: Curiosity, Creativity, Communicator, Character, Courage, Conviction, Charisma, Competency, and Common Sense. In evaluating the current crop of candidates for President, all fail with the exception of Joe Biden for President and John Edwards for Vice President.

He stresses people and prioities, and for the first time in any book I have read, he calls for all presidential candidates to appoint their Cabinet BEFORE the election so the people can evaluate the team and not just the Man. This is something I have advocated since 2000, see the original documents at Citizens-Party.org.

His comments on Bush-Cheney cronism are devastatingly on the mark. He points out that the insider game excludes top talent.

He finds Congress to be failing at the five top issues for all Americans: Iraq, Jobs, Health Care, Education, and Energy.

He is critical of the Executive for telling lies to get a war with Iraq, for condoning torture, and for being reactive instead of proactive.
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Format: Hardcover
He is right on, I agree with almost everything he says about our leaders. They are either arrogant, ignorant, cowardly, or a combination of all three. Worst of all, we are not being led by noble altruists who really care about our country or the world. We are lied to Bush et al, and the Democrats have not challenged them forcefully enough. Lee Iacocca is real life example of what a leader should be, not the partisan hacks we elected for and must rid ourselves in less than 2 years. Read this book and get justifiably angry. We should be screaming mad.
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Format: Hardcover
For those who don't know, Lee Iacocca is the former CEO of Chrysler, and played a large role in rescuing that company from the brink of financial disaster. This book, his first in a decade, is an enjoyable collection of his thoughts on politics, the auto industry, and a wide variety of other subjects.

Iacocca is 82 now, and is very blunt and colorful in his opinions. He has a very poor opinion of President Bush, who he describes as a "clueless bozo" who lacks the leadership qualities to be a good President. Fans of the Bush administration will probably not like this book, but keep in mind that Iacocca is a political independent who has supported both Democrats and Republicans in the past. In fact, Iacocca endorsed Bush in 2000 and recently supported the Republican candidate for governor in Michigan in the last election. So he is hardly a knee-jerk partisan. Either way, I found his political observations both entertaining and illuminating.

I also found Iacocca's opinions of the auto industry to be interesting. He strongly believes that Detroit should now be building smaller cars. He applauds GM for dumping the Oldsmobile brand and wonders why they haven't done the same thing with the Saturn brand yet. Iacocca also has a very poor opinion of the Daimer-Benz/Chrysler merger, and has sharp words for his CEO successor, Bob Eaton. It's all very fascinating stuff.

All in all, this is a fun, no-nonsense book by a man unafraid to speak his mind. It's a nice antidote to the slick talking heads on cable tv.
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