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American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company | [Bryce G. Hoffman]

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dys­functional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses.
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Publisher's Summary

At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dys­functional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses. It was an extraordinary risk, but it was the only way the Ford family - America's last great industrial dynasty - could hold on to their company.

Mulally and his team pulled off one of the great­est comebacks in business history. As the rest of Detroit collapsed, Ford went from the brink of bankruptcy to being the most profitable automaker in the world. American Icon is the compelling, behind-the-scenes account of that epic turnaround. On the verge of collapse, Ford went outside the auto industry and recruited Mulally - the man who had already saved Boeing from the deathblow of 9/11 - to lead a sweeping restructuring of a company that had been unable to overcome decades of mismanagement and denial.

Mulally applied the principles he developed at Boeing to streamline Ford's inefficient operations, force its fractious executives to work together as a team, and spark a product renaissance in Dearborn. He also convinced the United Auto Workers to join his fight for the soul of American manufacturing.

Bryce Hoffman reveals the untold story of the covert meetings with UAW leaders that led to a game-changing contract, Bill Ford's battle to hold the Ford family together when many were ready to cash in their stock and write off the company, and the secret alliance with Toyota and Honda that helped prop up the Amer­ican automotive supply base. In one of the great management narratives of our time, Hoffman puts the reader inside the boardroom as Mulally uses his celebrated Business Plan Review meet­ings to drive change and force Ford to deal with the painful realities of the American auto industry.

Hoffman was granted unprecedented access to Ford's top executives and top-secret company documents. He spent countless hours with Alan Mulally, Bill Ford, the Ford family, former executives, labor leaders, and company directors. In the best-selling tradition of Too Big to Fail and The Big Short, American Icon is narrative nonfiction at its vivid and colorful best.

©2012 Bryce G. Hoffman (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"For those interested in the recent political interventions and maneuvers in the auto industry, this book provides a fly-on-the-wall view of the meetings and behind-the-scenes deal making necessary to revive an ailing giant." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (235 )
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  •  
    Michael Newmarket, ON, Canada 10-07-12
    Michael Newmarket, ON, Canada 10-07-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The best business book I ever read"

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I am not a car guy and, as a result, am totally bored by discussion of car brands and part details.

    Two reasons why this book is so great:
    1.It is not a book about another business or industry failure -> It details how to run and save a business, in pretty granular terms.
    2.You find yourself rooting for the major players to succeed…I found the insights in the main players fascinating

    Bryce Hoffman – you did an outstanding job…this is a work of art you should be extremely proud of.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RB Player 03-25-13
    RB Player 03-25-13
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    "Great read!"

    True leadership! Able to do without the aid of government funds … will try to by a Ford next time!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TM 09-12-14
    TM 09-12-14

    TJM

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    "A New Medium of Advertising?"
    Any additional comments?

    Reading this book was my first introduction to Alan Mullaly and what went on with Ford before and after the financial crisis.

    Certainly it is an interesting story, well told and Alan Mullaly comes across as a business genius and a leader I wish I could have had during my time in corporate America.

    My reservations are that the book also reads like a long and rosy telling of "The Ford Story", in the same sense that Ford tries to tell "The Ford Story" in its advertising. It is a one-sided, effusive and unabashedly fawning account of Mullaly and Ford in general.

    The author begins the book with an explanation of how he went to the Ford Executive Leadership, including Mullaly explaining that the a book should be written about "Ford's comeback" and how it would be a "positive story". An investigative journalist should not assure his subjects that the book he is writing will be positive, it removes any opportunity for balance - and in balance is found truth.

    I certainly appreciate the fact that Ford saved itself rather than accept the Detroit bailout and I can see that Mullaly is an exceptional leader, but I want to read truth, not just advertising. And I felt uneasy during much of this book that I was being asked to trust Ford's own perception of itself.

    Questionable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter United States 09-27-13
    Peter United States 09-27-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Inspiring Leader"
    If you could sum up American Icon in three words, what would they be?

    I love Alan


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The joys of leadership


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    yes


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The company was always on the brink and leadership saved the day


    Any additional comments?

    no man is perfect but it seem the authors feel the subject is-I dont want the dirt just the man

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bor Tallmadge, OH, United States 06-22-12
    bor Tallmadge, OH, United States 06-22-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent book!"
    What did you love best about American Icon?

    Excellent book! A must read for somebody who is somewhat interested in Ford and Big 3 and the way they do business.


    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 11-18-14
    John S MA 11-18-14 Member Since 2005

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why I own a Ford, Actually 2 of them"

    I thought I wold listen to this book since business books is not my favorite genre. This book does a great job of explaining how Alan Mulally did a great job in saving Ford motor company. The basic lessons in the book are that

    -Eventually every big organization will be complacent

    -Board of directors are mostly in it for the money and prestige and are mostly clueless

    -An organization that does not tolerate failure will eventually fail

    -When you surround yourself with "yes men" you are disengaged from reality

    -Sometimes smaller is better, Being big for the sake of being big is foolish.

    The basic problem with Ford at the time of arrival of Mulally is that the company was out of touch with the market. Most of the top managers did not own or drive a classic "Ford" preferring the luxury brands of Jaguar and Range Rover which the Mulalay dumped as Ford divisions. He makes them drives Fords and even competing brands. When they do, they realize that at the time Fords kind of sucked. Ugly, poor quality, and no fun to drive. Most of America had come to that realization years earlier. No one was ever held accountable for failure at Ford because no one ever failed. He implements a management tracking system that makes it difficult to hide problems such as delays in car launches, quality issues, and cost problems. At one point he asks how many models of cars the company sells. Nobody knows so he goes to all the company web sites and prints out a picture of every model and shows it to the board. There were over 400 different models.

    Its a good listen if you like cars and business. It does get tedious at times but you can just skip forward

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 10-15-14
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 10-15-14 Member Since 2011

    Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.

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    "Interesting and Insightful - Must read (listen)"

    This audiobook is detailed, well researched and very insightful. It tells a story not only of what could be the biggest turnaround in business history but it also paints a picture of the automotive industry and the economic crisis of 2008.

    This is one of those books that should be required reading for anyone pursuing an MBA or anyone considering a business leadership position. It tells so many useful stories on aspects as varied as marketing, finance, building trust, strategy and focus, and so on.

    The narrator is clear and uses proper tone. The story has just enough detail to the point it is not boring. Definitely recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LD 10-01-14
    LD 10-01-14
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    "Writing style was a good fit for narrator"
    What about Pete Larkin’s performance did you like?

    Pete Larkin's performance was excellent, it felt like he was telling the story all first hand. These was a great amount of passion in his voice that made the story more inspirational and compelling.


    Any additional comments?

    The book felt very inspiring, I felt like i was hearing alot of insight into the struggles that Ford was facing and how they felt about what they were seeing in the marketplace at the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 09-30-14
    David 09-30-14
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    "Outstanding"

    One of the best management books I've read. This story of the saving of Ford holds your attention from the 1st chapter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Santa Barbara, California, United States 09-10-14
    Philip Santa Barbara, California, United States 09-10-14 Member Since 2012
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    "One of the best business books ever"
    What made the experience of listening to American Icon the most enjoyable?

    I was disappointed to find out that there aren't other books by this author. Wow. I really enjoyed this. I routinely listen while driving to keep awake and alert, and this was as good as a good adventure book.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    As a business owner, entrepreneur, this book really connected to me. The research is unbelievable and the pace of the narrative of events was riveting.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like business and suspense, get this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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