This first real look inside Team Obama mixes political warfare and big-business shakeups in equal proportions, and comes from a uniquely informed source. Steve Rattner is not just the man brought in by the president to save the auto industry, he is a former New York Times financial reporter who also earned a place among the top tier of Wall Street's most informed investment bankers and corporate experts.
Now, from his vantage point at the helm of the historic auto-industry intervention, Rattner crafts a tightly plotted narrative of political brinkmanship, corporate mismanagement, and personalities under pressure in a high-stakes clash between Washington and Detroit. He also explains the tough choices he and his team made, working against a ticking clock and facing vocal opposition from free-market champions, to keep Chrysler and General Motors in operation.
As the economy faced free fall, Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and economic advisor Larry Summers - all revealingly described - faced the possibility of more than a million lost jobs and the astonishing wreckage of GM (a nightmare of huge proportions, caused by terrible management) and Chrysler (a company so close to death it was nearly sacrificed). Rattner's book, which takes the story up to the fall of 2010, is a gripping account of one of the severest crises of President Obama's first year in office, with lessons relevant for all managers and executives.
©2010 Steven Rattner (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Obama auto czar Rattner delivers a vigorous account of the bailout of the automobile industry - a success, though one fraught with controversy... A fine inside-baseball account of how things can get done when people agree to get them done, even in Washington." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Overhaul is filled with delicious descriptions of what happened behind the scenes in the White House and at the Treasury Department as the effort to save GM and Chrysler unfolded... a riveting read." (The Wall Street Journal)
"'Overhaul' is not a Washington memoir, even though it is set in Washington, and it involves one of the most deeply politicized issues in recent memory. It is a Wall Street memoir, a book about one of the biggest private-equity deals in history....unexpectedly fascinating." (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker)
For me, this book has it all: law, finance, business management, government, all wrapped in a contemporary, well-told tale of high drama. We can't prove the counter-factual, such as, what Detroit might be like now WITHOUT this, given how bad it is anyway, but I'm glad the collapse of these industries remained counter-factual, rather than factual. The author is very gifted at seamlessly explaining some pretty complex stuff, all in a story so smooth one might be forgiven for not noticing there is a big timely education here. Our corporations and institutions need plenty of restructuring, and this is a definitive story of it happening in real time in the unwieldy corridors of government and rather sclerotic big business, in the face of crisis. Maybe in some instances crisis is a mother of invention. This is a tutorial on the remaking of 21st century corporate and governmental America, with global lessons too.
The biggest shock for me: the level of competence of top financial officials in these corporations. What, their spreadsheets don't even work? They lacked familiarity with fundamental concepts and formulas? Wow. Yet to the author's credit, we get enough backstory and a feel for the culture to understand how such things could come about. I can only wish our political discourse was debating the merits of things like this, rather than the absurdly misleading cartoon drivel out there right now. Two thumbs way up.
Steven Rattner has provided Audible fans an inside look at the government’s bailout of Chrysler and General Motors in “Overhaul.” This book readily expands on issues covered by Paul Ingrassia’s "Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster" Both are well worth the time of anyone interested in the topic (or who is helping to pay the bills for these manufacturers for that matter). The book is so good my last comments should not keep anyone away. First, this is really a memoir detailing Rattner’s involvement in the bailout process. Nonetheless, Rattner allows the listener to join him on a daily basis and see what he has seen. We learn a lot from him. Secondly, Rattner is pro-Obama, but who is totally “fair and balanced” anyway? Settle in and hear what Rattner has to say about how the government works, the “best and the brightest” behave, and the GM mess. The book is well written and Joe Barrett does a terrific job at narration. Put your earlobes in their hands and enjoy.
I was fascinated by this account of the Auto "Bailout". It is well written and enjoyable.
The description of how messed up GM was.
How could a giant company have such bad management practices.
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