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

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,002 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2012)
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James Korsmo
Simply put, this book is a page-turner. And that's not what you'd normally expect from a business book. But there's a great story here, well told, that excites the mind.

There hasn't really been a bigger story in the last half-decade than the economy, and along with the banking and housing sectors, America's "big three" automotive manufacturers have been key players in that story. But amid an economy in decline and two cross-town rivals falling toward default, Ford managed to plot a different cou
Books about CEOs are books about the management of large organizations. In 2006 Alan Mulally, was recruited by Bill Ford to come his family's namesake company to save the brand. The timing was propitious. Ford had already begun its own rescue internally and the collapse of the auto industry was over two years away. Mulally and his team were able to secure sufficient financing to survive the impending credit collapse.

Hoffman has written a puff piece. That is not that unusual in a genre which incl
I had to read this book for one of my MBA classes and was not expecting to like it much given my total lack of interest in the auto industry, Ford, Detroit, etc. As it turned out, this is probably one of the most inspiring books I've ever read, and I found it to be both incredibly compelling and very fast-paced to read. I've never wanted to be a CEO (okay I still don't), but after reading about what Alan Mulally did at Ford I kinda sorta wanted to be one for a hot second. This is a remarkable st ...more
Excellent book about the Ford Motor Company, and Alan Mulally's success in bringing the company to profitability. It is especially interesting to me since I have spent most of my adult life either working for or working with this company. It is quite something to have them discussing meetings in the 'glass house' just as you are driving by there on the highway...
I don't know if the author intended this book to be a solid piece of propaganda for Ford, but it worked! I listened to the book on Audiobook and enjoyed every minute. The story is well-told and Alan Mulally quickly becomes a likable hero to the reader. I related to Mulally's approach to people and his humility and genuineness (is that a word?). Hearing about his tendency to laugh and joke amongst his employees who didn't even realize who he was helped me identify one of my favorite characteristi ...more
I loved this book!
I read it for background understanding for a class project, but I would recommend it to anyone just for the story. it's a great story! it's so bad at Ford when Mulally joins that it's hardly worth saving. But then again, it's so bad that massive changes can have massive impact. This is the opportunity Mulally goes for with a calm tenacity and perseverance that ripples through the organization (very slowly!) until the turnaround is realized. He knows from experience that the fli
Clark Wierda
This is an incredibly vivid view of events that have been a large part of my life for the last several years. It provides a view of the journey many of us in the trenches didn't have. At many times, I found myself comparing my experience against the actions and events described. Everything is consistent with my memory and greatly enhanced my understanding.
Doichin Cholakov
Even below the glittering PRed literary persona Alan Mulally seems to be an extraordinary leader who by focusing on the right priorities, managed to leverage all the chances that faith threw on his hands during a stormy period for Detroit auto industry.

Very interesting glimpses on the dynamics between the Ford family and the family controlled Ford company, the relations with trade unions, the other two of "the big three", suppliers, dealers, media, Wall Street, Washington, etc.

A big lesson for m
This is the story of Alan Mulally turnaround of Ford. Gee, this man is pretty impressive. First, he saved (or at least had a lot to do with saving) Boeing. Then, in 2006, he took the helm at Ford.

The book was a nice (but not always flattering) history of Ford and, generally, an example of excellent business management. There is certainly a lot to be learned in these pages.

This was Ford’s last chance! Mulally emphasized the process of management and went even further than just restructuring but r
Three things about Mulally's character and outlook that I found inspiring from the book:
1. He focused on reality. He spent little time thinking about what could have been or should have been. Instead, he was committed to seeing clearly the reality that was before him and responding to that. He did not live in the past.
2. He valued people. Whether it was the president of Ford of Europe, an assembly-line worker from Dearborn, President Obama or a Ford owner in a small town in America, Mulally saw
Tim Jin
My dad customized a 1979 Econoline-150 van with a wheelchair ramp for me. It was the family van, and as I got older, I got the keys to the "Brown Can.". The old goat ran for almost 20 years and got me through college, camping trips,concerts and lots of fun. We were sad to see the beast go. If Ford made an accessible mini van, I would probably have another Ford right now, instead of a Japanese import.

"American Icon" is a true success story that I kept rooting for. There is something about seeing
I listened to this as an audiobook and was floored by how good it was. At times it reads like a Tom Clancy thriller - complete with (corporate) espionage, epic betrayals, and one man - Bill Ford -determined to keep his family's legacy in tact no matter what.

Intended to be a biography of Alan Mulally, the man credited with saving Boeing after the 9-11 attacks crippled the airline industry and who would eventually go on to save Ford Motor Company despite the greatest economic crisis since the Gre
Nancy W.
This was a great book! A must read for anyone in manufacturing, especially the automotive industry. Make the plan, work the plan, stay the course, work together! As I read this book I was surprised of the inside look at Ford Motor Company's story. This was a very personal account of what went on behind closed doors. Very inspiring to see Ford Motor succeed. Go Ford!
Finished the second half of this Ford turnaround story while driving a 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and I was impressed by both. Both the author and narrator made this a great book for anyone who is interested in American automotive industry during this last recession. Fascinating real story and not something you can make up even in fiction. Especially the last third it was quite intense, almost like reading a thriller. Perhaps it is because having been in the automotive industry during the same tim ...more
Will Herman
While the author goes to lengths to discuss his impartiality and freedom in writing this book, at times he sounds like a cheerleader for Ford. He uses mistakes made by the company only in juxtaposition to their later successes in order to make those successes more superhuman. That said, the story is enjoyable and Mulally and company at Ford clearly did some incredible things to save Ford and, further, to be the only American car company not to ask for government help in the crash of 2007/2008.

CCPL Staff Picks
American Icon by Bruce Hoffman explored the incredible turn-around of the Ford Motor Company and the dynamic Alan Mulally. Bryce Hoffman visited the Westminster branch this past fall and revealed the inner workings and covert meeting held at Ford. – Lynn B
I had to read this book for business school. I wasn't looking forward to it because Ford is of no interest to me whatsoever. In fact, the first few chapters belabor the many, many years of challenges at the company. If not for the fact that I had to read it for class, I probably would have stopped because it was so tedious. Then they bring in Alan Mulally. And it was good. He just seems like a great guy, and he really turned things around. I found myself cheering him on, hoping that things would ...more
Never has a 'business' book been so riveting! I loved the narrative and the author's writing. It flowed and raced along. It was amazing to read how a company came together under a new vision and stuck with it despite the odds and accepted wisdom of the day. I loved seeing the relational dynamics being played out and the evolution of a unified 'One Ford'. I know this is outside of the scope of the book but I kept wondering how these peoples' personal lives were doing as their work did not appear ...more
Alan Mulally, with the help of the Ford family (Bill Ford in particular), and a corporate staff willing to see Mulally's vision for Ford to success again, have indeed transformed a previous American icon of yesteryear to an icon of today. Truly one of the most fascinating struggles of a company on the edge of bankruptcy to a whole new life and culture of excellence and pride. Throughout the time when GM and Chrysler were bailed out by the U.S., Ford remained alone in it's efforts to bootstrap it ...more
Great read for a student of business

Although I knew the outcome of this story, I enjoyed the narrative Mr. Hoffman weaved out of the many facts in this account. Well-written and fast-growing, this book gives a chilling account of how close Ford came to bankruptcy and how Mullaly's disciplined approach saved it. I'd always known how dysfunctional Ford was because my dad worked there for thirty years, so it's nice to see someone bring some much-needed pragmatism to the place. There are a lot of le
I enjoyed this book. I knew what happened to the car companies during the recession in only the broadest of strokes. The story of how Alan Mulally began to turn Ford around even before the recession and managed to keep it going without government aid is interesting and held my attention. William Clay Ford, Jr., is also a hero of this book for having the wisdom to see that Ford needed a strong CEO and the humility to step aside, and to support Mulally even when that meant running interference wit ...more
Karen Leonard
I really enjoyed this book. It starts with a brief history of Ford, from its start to its decline, highlighting its notable accomplishments and failures. Then turns to the story of how Alan Mulally comes in and turns the company around. It reads like a novel, very well researched and written.

The story itself, about the turnaround led by Alan, is amazing. Definitely one for people in or interested in leadership to read and learn from. I aspire to be as effective as Alan Mulally. Trusting his gut
What makes a successful company fall asleep and slip into despondency? How a rotten corporate culture takes root and how can this process be reversed? What kind of person does it take to perform such a turnaround, and what would one need to do in order to achieve it? These are all very interested questions, none are really answered by this book.

At the turn of the century Ford was in trouble, with top management managing their departments like feudal fiefs, trade union imposing impossible terms m
Steven Zachary
This was a surprisingly interesting book about a American Manufacturing Icon and what would eventually become on of the greatest executive leaders of all time. Some call Alan Mulally the "turnaround artist". It's hard to argue with that, given the enormity of his accomplishments. Saving both Boeing and Ford from some of the worst times not only in their history, but in American history (9/11 and Great recession respectively) is due of enormous respect.

The book is well organized and narration is
Andrew Ryan
Good, insightful analysis of Mulally's first few years at the helm of Ford Motor Company. Beginning with his hiring in 2006 at a time when Ford was nearly bankrupt and continuing through the Automotive Industry Crisis of 2008-2010. Ford was the only American car manufacturer to not take a Government bailout as Mulally quarter backed one of the greatest corporate comebacks in recent history. Above all else—the book tells the story of a CEO with an incredible work ethic, a clear vision and plan fo ...more
Bill Krieger
American Icon is a shill... and it's still great!

Yup, Ford recruited the author to write this book, and it's a very positive treatment of Ford CEO Alan Mulally. So be it. It's still a great read. First off, the author got some really inside access at Ford, so the story has depth and rings true. Second, the writing is really good. There's a wonderful balance in the telling of the story. There's some old Ford history, and of course, the new stuff. There's some personal gossipy stories, and that's
Gale Jake
I bought the book for Kindle when it was released on 3/13/2012. Very well written. Excellent in-depth behind the scenes information on the personalities and cultural dynamics of Ford and the auto industry in addition to the business side. Reads like a novel, certainly not a dry business book or history book. It's the story of Ford as a loser before the beginning of the recession, its difficult journey through near bankruptcy, hard-earned success and the excellent management of CEO Alan Mulally w ...more
If you think that "engineers are the source of all wealth creation" then you'll find this story incredible. In the early 2000's, Ford motor company was in trouble. Ford was a house of brands with over 97 different automobiles and almost no part standardization, executives who were constantly plotting each others' demises, and an entire company with a culture of dishonesty.

Thanks to the humility and prescience of Ford chairman and CEO Bill Ford and his decision to cede his control of the company
Alan Mulally is an iconic figure in recent business history turning around not only Boeing corporation following 9/11 but rescuing Ford from decades of degradation and mismanagement. American Icon is really a book focused on Mulally’s time at Ford from a veteran automotive reporter who knows the in and outs of the industry. It is a story well worth telling and one that is applicable for those interested in business related to manufacturing. It takes on a wide range of issues from unions to manag ...more
By Antony Currie

Just how did affable, aw-shucks mid-westerner Alan Mulally manage to turn around Ford Motor? There’s no doubt that he has been the driving force behind the transformation of an old wreck into one of the world’s most profitable auto companies. Witness the Motown manufacturer’s first-quarter results: $1.4 billion of net income globally while its North America auto business cranked out its best showing in over a decade, a pre-tax profit margin of 11.3 percent. Five years ago, such n
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“I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one - and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces. - Henry Ford” 2 likes
“Business men go down with their businesses because they like the old way so well they cannot bring themselves to change. One sees them all about - men who do not know that yesterday is past, and who woke up this morning with last year's ideas. - Henry Ford” 1 likes
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