We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The Story of Two Unique Men, A Legendary Company, and a Remarkable Time in American History | [William Pelfrey]

Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The Story of Two Unique Men, A Legendary Company, and a Remarkable Time in American History

You couldn't find two more different men. Billy Durant was the consummate salesman, a brilliant wheeler-dealer with grand plans, unflappable energy, and a fondness for the high life. Alfred Sloan was the intellectual, an expert in business strategy and management, master of all things organizational. Together, this odd couple built perhaps the most successful enterprise in U.S. history, General Motors, and with it an industry that has come to define modern life throughout the world.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

One industry has had more impact on life in America than any other before or since. Here is the story of two men and one company at the start of it all.

You couldn't find two more different men. Billy Durant was the consummate salesman, a brilliant wheeler-dealer with grand plans, unflappable energy, and a fondness for the high life. Alfred Sloan was the intellectual, an expert in business strategy and management, master of all things organizational. Together, this odd couple built perhaps the most successful enterprise in U.S. history, General Motors, and with it an industry that has come to define modern life throughout the world. Their story is full of timeless lessons, cautionary tales, and inspiration for business leaders and history buffs alike.

Billy, Alfred, and General Motors is the tale not just of the two extraordinary men of its title but also of the formative decades of 20th-century America, through two world wars and sea changes in business, industry, politics, and culture. The book includes vivid, warts-and-all portraits of the legends of the golden age of the automobile, from "Crazy" Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, and Charles Nash to the brilliant but uncredited David Dunbar Buick and Cadillac founder Henry Leland.The impact of Durant and Sloan on their contemporaries and their industry is matched only by the powerful legacy of their improbable and incredible partnership. Characters, events, and context--all are brought skillfully and passionately to life in this meticulously researched and supremely readable book.

©2006 William Pelfrey (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Anyone interested in the current story of General Motors should read this engrossing description of the beginnings and early growth of this largest of all America's businesses. Billy, Alfred, and the General is an important work on the history of the automobile industry." (John G. Smale, retired Chairman and CEO, Procter and Gamble Company; former Chairman, General Motors Corporation)

"This book is particularly timely, with the auto industry in a period of extreme turbulence that features a restructuring of General Motors, as well as other icons of times gone by. In a sense, we may be reliving in the 21st century the auto drama of the 20th century portrayed so well by Bill Pelfrey. The author's outstanding writing and research skills are evident throughout and make this one of the most important and fascinating books I've read in a very long time." (David E. Cole, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research)

"Every person who is interested in the building of the American automobile industry must read this book. Bill Pelfrey has done a great job researching the early years of Billy Durant and Alfred Sloan and the very different roles they played in the history of General Motors." (Jack Smith, retired Chairman and CEO, General Motors Corporation)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (66 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (54 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.0 (50 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 10-26-11
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 10-26-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    263
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    234
    81
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    35
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not Only an Automotive History"

    Outstanding book. One doesn't have to be an automotive buff to enjoy this read.

    It's also a good look into the early 20th century in general, and our industrial history as well. This isn't the only book to do so of course, but it's very interesting to watch as the now household names of Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile et al come in to existence. First as independents, then as General Motors.

    The only draw back, and I rarely critique the narrator, but this reader's technique for quoting someone was to read in a false voice as if he were trying to sound like someone's grandmother - and doing a poor job of it no less. It was the same weird grandmother-like voice no matter who he was quoting.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 07-07-12
    Tim United States 07-07-12 Member Since 2010

    I use my left foot to type my reviews.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    651
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    360
    356
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    104
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bland Information"

    Unless you really want to learn about the automotive industry in America, I would recommend something else, like Crash Course by Paul Ingrassia or The Yugo by Jason Vuic. They are much more entertaining than this GM title.

    That being said, there are many points to highlight about GM, such as they were the first company to setup pensions for their workers, prior to 401k and Social Security. They also established their own financing division, GMAC and their own automotive trade school and and was a major contributor to the war, but the information that is presented is just dry.

    GM is probably the greatest industrial company in history, but the information is this book is just bland. You really have to like GM to get through this book. It's a very informative read, but I think it is written "as is" as history tells it without any drama or plot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian BALMORAL,Brisbane Australia 04-03-13
    Brian BALMORAL,Brisbane Australia 04-03-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    104
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story"

    I really liked this book about the history of not only one of the most significant companys in history but the lives of these two key players.

    Not only did we get the history of GM but the history of the motor car in the American incarnation. It is a historical story, really well read, I really like the soft reading when quoting actual characters, and it kept moving.

    An enriching experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul United States 12-19-12
    Paul United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting history - quirky narrator"
    Would you try another book from William Pelfrey and/or Dickson Lane?

    Yes, to the author; NO to the narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Billy, Alfred, and General Motors?

    Interesting story about the formation of the auto industry, and GM in particular. Good character studies of the principles; Durant, Sloan, and Henry Ford.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The main negative is with the narrator who had a very strange quirk that I have never heard any other narrator do as a long-time Audible listener. Whenever he read a direct quote, he lowered his voice an octave and delivered the quote in a shy, quiet way... as if he were delivering a secret that he didn't want anyone to overhear except the listener. There was absolutely no need to do this - the narrative made it very clear that it was a quote - and why the narrator felt he had to significantly alter his delivery is a complete mystery. The reason this was a big problem is I listen in my car, and I continually had to crank up the volume every time he read a quote. It was VERY ANNOYING... and for absolutely no reason.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Billy, Alfred, and General Motors?

    I would have forced the narrator to deliver the story consistently, rather than lowering his voice every time he came to a quote.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles ALBANY, NY, United States 12-19-12
    Charles ALBANY, NY, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent early history of the auto industry"
    Any additional comments?

    The is an excellent history of the automobile industry and the evolution of the modern corportation as told throught the lives of two very different men.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 11-03-12
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 11-03-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    334
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    146
    141
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    120
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrific business history"

    The Flint-Detroit area must have been incredible back in the day when it was bustling with such inventive characters and energy. It was the Silicon Valley of its time. Buick, Chrysler, Ford and their contemporaries were as eccentric and diverse a bunch as one could imagine. One gets a sense of this age, when modern industries and amazing products were leaping onto the American stage, revolutionizing life. In the Alfred Sloane phase, we see too a different phase of American history unfold, as America's industrial giants assumed titanic proportions and management styles to fit. From a fan of good business history, this book is a well-blended mix of the lives (with all victories, quirks, foibles on display) , the finances, and the technologies, I found utterly listenable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kjell United States 07-31-12
    Kjell United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating early history of the auto industry"
    Would you listen to Billy, Alfred, and General Motors again? Why?

    I wouldn't listen to it again, but I enjoyed listening to it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Fascinating to hear about the eccentric characters and the early history of companies that are household names.


    Any additional comments?

    Writing engaging business history can be very difficult, especially when it does not relate to recent crises. Pelfry does a wonderful job, and is helped by a colorful set of characters and a wily industry so different from the staid auto industry we have today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy Brandon, FL, United States 07-03-12
    Troy Brandon, FL, United States 07-03-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    120
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    266
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating journey thru the early years of autos"

    More than a discourse on GMC, it is an excellent treatise on the birth and early development of the US auto industry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.