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Publisher's Summary

A shocking exposé of Volkswagen's fraud by the New York Times reporter who covered the scandal.

In mid-2015 Volkswagen proudly reached its goal of surpassing Toyota as the world's largest automaker. A few months later, the EPA disclosed that Volkswagen had installed software in 11 million cars that deceived emissions-testing mechanisms. By early 2017 VW had settled with American regulators and car owners for $20 billion, with additional lawsuits still looming.

In Faster, Higher, Farther, Jack Ewing rips the lid off the conspiracy. He describes VW's rise from "the people's car" during the Nazi era to one of Germany's most prestigious and important global brands, touted for being "green". He paints vivid portraits of Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch and chief executive Martin Winterkorn, arguing that the corporate culture they fostered drove employees, working feverishly in pursuit of impossible sales targets, to illegal methods. Unable to build cars that could meet emissions standards in the United States honestly, engineers were left with no choice but to cheat. Volkswagen then compounded the fraud by spending millions marketing "clean diesel", only to have the lie exposed by a handful of researchers on a shoestring budget, resulting in a guilty plea to criminal charges in a landmark Department of Justice case.

Faster, Higher, Farther reveals how the succeed-at-all-costs mentality prevalent in modern boardrooms led to one of corporate history's farthest-reaching cases of fraud - with potentially devastating consequences.

©2017 Jack Ewing (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent recap of VW, its structure and culture

What did you love best about Faster, Higher, Farther?

The research quality is excellent, and the author does not leap to conclusions that aren't fact based. There are some highly technical areas that are overly simplified, but I suppose that keeps non-engineers engaged in the book. The tension and drama of the Porsche and Piech families is brought out in an insightful way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Clearly, Ferdinand Piëch is the main focus of this book.

Any additional comments?

I have owned and driven at least one VW since 1971. I've built and rebuilt several air cooled (Ghia, Thing, Dune Buggy) and enjoy my '74 Thing and '91 Vanagon camper. My wife enjoyed our '06 Passat VR6 4mo wagon and '11 Tig. My work car is a '14 TDi SEL. In between, there were other cars I try to forget.

The company has been late to the US market in so many ways, and de-contented their US made vehicles below my point of interest. I love the drive and feel of their vehicles, and this book explained how they came off the rails. It will be a steep hill for them to climb in the US.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well-written and comprehensive

Well-written business narrative with good historical perspective. Considerate and unbiased. To understand the scandal, you have to appreciate the context of the situation and the nature of the person(s) who dominated the corporation and its culture. This book delivers both.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good book, but it takes long to get to the scandal

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, but the first half is way to detailed compared to the scandal part.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Short and unexpected.

Which scene was your favorite?

Scandal part.

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

Nope.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very detailed (good) but too long (not so good)

History at the beginning is much too long. I got through 2 hours and gave up. I was disappointed because I am very interested in what happened.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really interesting story

Very well done. Interesting story, great background on the issue and the author did a nice job of keeping me entertained throughout.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Very well researched but too long


This is an important book yet parts of that appear redundant and is the point of the book or points of the book could have been stated in fewer pages. I’d like to give it five stars but it is so long-unnecessarily so. Basically progeny of a friend of Hitler’s and his relatives who would no doubt extra engineers, deceived the world into thinking that they had reduced NOX compounds In diesel passenger vehicles when actually they were putting 40 times as much as they should have been. A true travesty. Polluting the world 40 times greater than it was being pulled over there at all in the name of greed and dynasty

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must listen if you care about the auto industry

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the VW scandal but I now realize it was much worse than I realized. While the book is a little light on some of the details of the auto industry in the earlier part of the book, leaving out details in an effort not to be boring, it does a good job of describing the culture and mismanagement that led to this deception. it is not too heavy or technical that someone that knows little about the auto industry can follow the details.

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 01-11-18

In Depth Review of VW and the Scandal

Truth can be stranger than fiction. If this story were not out of the headlines, it would be easy to characterize it as a fanciful tale of corporate mismanagement, replete with many Teutonic villains but few white knights. However, this tale appears well-documented.

As an initial matter, understand that I am the ultimate skeptic. I am a lawyer and have represented businesses for over thirty years. I have found most stories of corporate greed or wrongdoing--particularly with respect to environmental matters--are overblown when you really get down to the facts. Further, I have represented German companies for many years, and have many German friends. I generally find Germans to be very straight-forward and honest. If anything, Germans are very strict about following the rules. All of this wanted to make me take this book with a grain of salt.

The problem with being a skeptic is that--as the book reminds us--VW pretty much has admitted everything. The reporting here ends in 2017, but the ramifications continue to plague VW.

The book starts like a novel with some graduate students conductin tests to try to measure emissions from diesel vehicles on the road, as opposed to a controlled testing environment. When the anomalous results come in, they assume there is a reasonable explanation, and the story goes from there.

Before returning to the story, the author provides a very interesting history of VW, its original ties to the Nazi regime, and its connection to the Porsche/Piech family. In the author's view, and he makes a pretty good case for it, the driven management style of Ferdinand Piech not only set the stage for VW's ascent to, briefly, the world's no. 1 auto manufacturer, but also for managers to bend the emissions rules to sell "clean diesel" cars.

The author also describes, in pretty digestible detail, the rather strange (one might say absurd) ownership structure of VW, where laborers and the State of Lower Saxony effectively have a veto right over management decisions. But I don't want to say too much, as it would spoil the story.

One qualm I have about this book is the narration. Generally, Richards is a very fluent narrator. But, to me anyway, he somewhat spoiled it with his overdone pronunciations of German and Austrian names, which appear throughout the book. "Piech" is certainly difficult for an American to pronounce, but Richards takes it to a new level, often over-articulating the name, and then pronouncing it in multiple ways. He also does this with other names, making a show of trying to replicate the correct German pronunciation in an exaggerated manner. At times, it reminded me of a Steve Martin comedy routine (if you are old enough to remember!). It would have been better just to use an Americanized pronunciation and keep it low key and consistent. At least, that's how I see it (or would have preferred to have heard it).

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • H.
  • 12-02-17

The history, legacy and tragedy

I enjoyed learning about this German powerhouse and it’s relationship to famous events, people and places. The financial aspects of Porsche vs Volkswagen was surprising and the maneuverings in the stock market were ingenious. Very entertaining and informative.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great "too big too fail" story. Just great.

A story behind the biggest auto scandal, and the steps that lead to it will keep you in awe. What kind of system was set in place to allow this, topped with some brilliant information on financial and law rope-a-dopes.