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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

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  671 ratings  ·  146 reviews
THE INSIDE STORY OF THE EPIC TURNAROUND OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF CEO ALAN MULALLY.

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...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,227)
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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...more
Ware
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...more
Tania
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...
Jean
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
Sheila
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...more
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.
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...more
Jenna
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...more
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...more
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!
Kevin
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
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
Tafitasoa
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
David
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...more
Diana
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
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...more
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
Chad
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...more
Brian
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
Breakingviews
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...more
Mark Carley
This was an excellent accounting of the efforts of Bill Ford and Alan Mulally to save Ford Motor Company. It includes some great examples of leadership and people management by both men, but especially Mulally. When hired at Ford he came into a posionous culture that was leading the company into bankruptcy. I worked at Ford for a year during Jac Nasser's tenure and the conditions were nightmarish. The author does a great job of capturing this. Nothing he says about the back-stabbing, myopic and...more
Jim
Oct 29, 2012 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: mba
I know Mulally is the protagonist and hero of the story, but he’s not the compelling factor for me. Clearly, he’s the lynchpin of the turnaround and a major force in the history of Ford. But near the end of the book Hoffman devotes a telling paragraph to the other critical players. To Bill Ford and both his humility in stepping aside for “the right man” as well as his unending commitment to back him – regardless of the pressure that inevitably came from family and colleagues. To Fields and his c...more
Gene Babon
"Running a business is a design job. You need a point of view about the future, a really good plan to deliver that future, and then relentless implementation."
While Steve Jobs is hailed as one of the best business leaders of the modern era, Alan Mulally might be one of the best kept secrets in American business. American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company delivers a compelling, insightful read on par with Steve Jobs.

Bryce Hoffman's inside look at Ford Motor Company explo...more
Mark Leonard
The transformation at Ford from a company spiraling down towards bankruptcy to the strong car company it is today is a great tale. Hoffman does a good job of telling this story. The first part of the book leans toward a hagiography of Mulally. While Mulally was the leader of the transformation at Ford, the introduction of him makes him out to be more of a saint. This is corrected in the second half of the book, which focuses more on the team involved in the turnaround with Mulally as the leader....more
Online Eccentric Librarian
I admit to a great curiosity about business and why some work and some don't. Ford, along with Xerox, Kodak, and others were really into the Quality movement of the 1990s yet so many of the Baldridge award winners died or never recovered. Ford did recover, however, and it's interesting to read one account of how it happened.

This really does focus a lot on one person (Alan Mulally) - and we all know how important CEOs are for American companies (less so for European, for example). I was worried t...more
Bill Pardi
In 2007 Ford Motor Co. was on multi-year trend of losing market share and billions of dollars in the process. Its management was stagnant, its product line bloated, and its workforce calicified and uninspired. Bill Ford, then CEO and caretaker of the family business, convinced his board not only was he not the right person to make the necessary changes at Ford, but that they needed someone from the outside to come in and fix things. They spent several months convincing Alan Mulally, then in the...more
Joe
I had read articles talking about Alan Mulally and how he had saved Boeing and then went to Ford and fixed them. Given that they were two very different companies in my opinion (I see more similarities after the fact), I wondered how he did it. Whenever you see a leader come in and turnaround two companies in seemingly low growth industries, it makes you wonder "How the hell did they do that?"

I think this book gives a pretty good insight into that. I would give it 3.5 stars but that doesn't see...more
Will Burns
I didn't know anything about the Automotive industry before this book. I still only know a little but I know a lot about Alan Mulally and he is a great man and CEO. His methods are deceptively simple - it is all about vision, momentum and accountability, about the ability to do the simple things repeatedly over long periods of time and execute against them.

I also found it comforting that he is a honest and good natured man. Often the press can over-emphasise CEOs like Steve Jobs who have horribl...more
Pat Rolston
Great read in the spirit of, "Too Big to Fail," by Sorkin in which the author puts you inside the process of Mulally turning around Ford. I had read reviews comparing this book to Issacson's bio of Steve Jobs. It is not in that class, but it is a wonderful and uplifting documented work lightly covering Mulally's background and doing an in depth review of his time at Ford. Another reporter turned author who demonstrates the ability to captivate and create a very pleasurable reading experience whi...more
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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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