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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

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  2,550 Ratings  ·  279 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 sav
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2012)
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Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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...
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
James Korsmo
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Sydney Gard
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I knew essentially nothing about business or cars before reading "American Icon," and while it does not necessarily read "more like a thriller than a business book" like a review on the cover claims, it was mostly easy to read and stay involved in the plot. Seeing Alan Mulally speak a few months ago was cool, but after reading this book it now feels like an honor. This guy is seriously the bomb, and I would definitely recommend this complex, interesting account of how Mulally saved Ford.
Clark Wierda
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Barry Bridges
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the time of Make America Great Again, it is refreshing to read the story of someone who actually did just that, delivered more than hot air, and smiled while doing it. Alan Mulally not only turned around one iconic American company (Boeing), he jumped in to dysfunctional and about to fail Ford Motor Company to repeat the process, proving he is a genuine American Hero. Hoffman delivers an insider's view into the process, the pain, and the people in an enjoyable, readable format.

I learned so m
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Such a great American business story, probably the best business-focused book I have read. The book is very well researched but reads like a thriller. I couldn't put it down. I loved how the author went into detail about the problems at Ford and what Mulally did to address them. It is incredible how Mulally turned Ford around.
Kosh Koshover
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written and fascinating to read, maybe a touch too easy going to Ford, but overall an interesting book about an amazing corporate turn around during the most significant economical crisis in decades.
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author did a wonderful job telling the story of Alan Mulally's turn-around of Ford during America's economic crisis of 2007-2008. Alan's leadership to change a toxic corporate culture and get everyone to work as a team towards a shared vision is inspiring.
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Nancy W.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
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
Bjoern Rochel
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, eng-mgmt
Very inspiring leadership story
Lloyd Fassett
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
10/23/18 Fascinating book at any level of business interest and I recommend it. There's a bigger story about the context of the story that's not told though.

Manufacturing, in general, is a low-profit business. This leads to investments in businesses that grow faster, creating more profit and a lack of execution on the original money maker. Problems come up. Alan Mullaly comes through as a hero by focusing the business, but the original issue still remains.

As I write this there is a public rumor
Glen Chern
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A True American Comeback

Author Bryce Hoffman details the incredible American comeback story of Ford Motor Company. His focus is largely on Alan Mulally, whom Ford hired away from Boeing in September 2006 to take over as their New CEO. Hoffman chronicles the events leading to Bill Ford's decision to step down as CEO and go outside the company and the auto industry to hire Mulally.

The author describes the changes Mulally made to Ford's corporate culture as well as the approach he took to changing
Alex Shrugged
A very helpful view of the turn-around of Ford Motor Company prior to and throughout the economic collapse caused in part by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It has become clear that Ford needed to change its business practices. The entire industry did, but Ford in particular so they hired a turn-around artist, Alan Mulally from Boeing. Although Ford did not anticipate the sub-prime mortgage crisis, they did see economic storm clouds on the horizon... normal ones... and wanted to prepare for them. ...more
Jean Robert Petnkeu
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alan Mulally is my hero, a true American icon.

“What I have learned is the power of a compelling vision, a comprehensive strategy, a relentless implementation process, and talented people working together based on those commitments. We laid out a plan and for four and half years we’ve been relentlessly implementing that plan. That meant dealing with reality, no matter how harsh it might be. It meant sowing the seeds of future growth even as the company struggled to make it to tomorrow, and it me
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
If possible i would have given it 4.5 Stars.

Nice Book! gives an insight into the corporate world. I like the way Author describes World Headquarters as "Shark Tank", Indeed it is. One can have a fairly well idea of how it is like to be CEO of a huge manufacturing company. What Challenges lie underneath the glamorous (in it's own way) Corporate World. While reading i could visualize sequence of events.

Personally, i liked reading first half of the Book. Latter part was quite predictable and obviou
Gregg Rozeboom
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I had no idea what the real story was behind why Ford didn’t take the bailout money in 2008, although I still remember being impressed that they didn’t need the money. Many critics thought they would be the first to go bankrupt, but due to their amazing turnaround they didn’t need the money and Americans, including myself, took notice. I’m inspired by Alan Mulally’s intense focus on making the top Ford executives work together. He made them meet and report critical data to the group in the ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I thought it was really interesting to hear how they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to survive so many bumps in the road. I've been aware of Ford and the road taken, but it was rather fascinating hearing so much insider detail.

It was obnoxious that the author pointed out the race of African American individuals, and only the African American individuals. Pointing out their race was never once important to the point being made, or descriptive of an experience they had due to their race.
Zach Varwig
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read and story, fast paced, and thorough in its research and approach. I started noticing Ford's more driving around, and in a way, this book made me want to go buy one after hearing about Alan and the companies success story. Certainly many sound lessons about business and success are contained within.

Parts were slightly repetitive, sometimes hitting you over the head with details that had already been described. Also, the Alan Mulally worship, while well deserved, got a little too much
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books on organizational transformation I've read

It's a front row seat to the pain, sweat, fear and danger that Alan Mulally guided Ford through. The book gives an unflinching look at the players and the issues that they faced. I found the real value of the book in the BPR and Management philosophy that Alan brought to Ford. It was a hands-on reformation of an old industrial company into a 21st century driving company.

For those looking for their first taste of Executive and Direc
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found American Icon to be very engaging, and a real page turner. I read this book based on the knowledge that the new leaders of my company are adopting the methods that Mulally brought to Ford. To my delight I found the methods appealing, and this makes me optimistic for the future of my company (which is no where near the condition Ford found itself in when Mulally started). The book also reinforced my positive view of the automaker, which was based on a much more cursory knowledge of the ev ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a business book before this one so I didn't know what to expect. This was my first attempt to try and diversify my library's genre and I truly enjoyed it. It is a really cool account of the history of Ford and how it overcame the recent recession. At times it could get tough remembering who is who but I soon found out that's not necessary in order to understand the story. It is a great combination of history, business, and leadership refinement.
Jim Netzband
A good account of Alan Mulally's role in resurrecting Ford prior to and during the Great Recession. As I study the history of the American auto industry, I continue to be amazed at the inept leadership of the Big Three, particularly in the years directly preceding the recession. Ford had the foresight and self-awareness to make efforts to correct its problems prior to the downturn, which was in stark contrast to the arrogance, ineffectiveness, and eventual bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great business book that read more like fiction given all the drama and unique corporate characters. A definite must read for those interested in business and cars, but equally entertaining for those that are not. A newfound respect for the "blue oval" and their ability for such a large company to turn itself around in such a short period of time.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great story of overcoming some incredibly challenging barriers - corporate culture, external environment, interdependent supply chain.

I thought the first part of the book was a bit challenging with all the names, who’s who, etc. But I would say things picked up about a third of the way into the book and the actual story of Ford started to come through.

Great read.
Scott Wozniak
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
The writing was really good, but the story wasn't especially dramatic. If you already love cars as an industry, then this would be a five star read. But otherwise it's a strong telling of a strong leader turning around a company. He did a great job. But there's no grand dramatic moments and there aren't any new business or strategic insights in the book.
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“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” 3 likes
“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” 3 likes
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