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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

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  3,545 ratings  ·  363 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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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  3,545 ratings  ·  363 reviews

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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
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
Patrick Eckhardt
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Very well written and engaging, but ultimately it's a love letter to unfettered capitalism, unbalanced corporate executives, and the poor plight of independently wealthy individuals who stock isn't worth quite as much as it once was.

In the moment, it's an empathetic struggle to save something important. When I take a step back, it's sort of just the story of people getting paid millions and millions of dollars to solve the problems created by other multi-millionaires. Definitely some worthwhile
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
John Elliott
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how Mulally and his team saved Ford Motor Company. There were numerous tactical moves involved, but at the end of the day, the turnaround hinged on three basic elements:

1. Having a clear point of view about the future of Ford.
2. Having a clear plan for getting to that future reality.
3. Smart people relentlessly working together to execute that plan.

Mulally (rightfully) gets much of the credit for the turnaround, but Bill Ford is the unsung hero in my op
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... ...more
Mark Jr.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book, audio, 2019
If you’ve ever read David Foster Wallace’s essay on tennis phenom Tracy Austin’s perfunctory, soulless autobiography—all of his incisive comments about that book’s literary style (or lack thereof) could also be made about *American Icon*. The book turns Ford CEO Alan Mulally into an almost impossibly ideal person, and the prose about him is unrelentingly chipper for about 12 hours of reading time.

However… You can’t be an American and not hope for Ford Motor Company to win at the end of the story
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-list
Our CEO gets the credit for my discovery of American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company, by Bryce G. Hoffman. He mentioned that he was reading it and that he recommended it to all of us.

Hoffman spent 22 years as a newspaper reporter, covering, among other industries, the automobile industry in Detroit. He does more than just report the facts — though he does that, and quite extensively; he also dives into the people who made the story of Ford’s turnaround so impressive.
Glenn Block
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this as part of my MBA course work. It gives a really interesting glimpse into what it takes to turn around a behemoth organization that was the market leader, and then fell to the bottom due to bureaucracy, loss of focus, and forgetting about the customer. What I like in particular about the book is how it gets you into the mind of Mulally and lets you see his thoughts of how to tackle the tremendous rode ahead. The book also gives lots of gems that can be applied in organizations of any ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
Bjoern Rochel
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, eng-mgmt
Very inspiring leadership story
Bryon Brandt
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing

A more tolerant attitude to failure can also help companies to avoid destruction.
When Alan Mulally became boss of an ailing Ford Motor Company in 2006 one of the first things he did was demand that his executives own up to their failures.

He asked managers to Colour-Code their progress reports—ranging from green for good to red for trouble. At one early meeting he expressed astonishment at being confronted by a sea of green, even though the company had lost several billion dollars in the previo
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. ...more
David Cupitt
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Leif Almberg
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
One of the most exciting and interesting books that I have ever read. More intense than a thriller, more breathtaking than a horror book.
Amazing leadership, amazing turnaround, at the worst of times, written as a suspense novel. This book has it all. Highly recommended!
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. ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a fascinating read. Every MBA grad or anyone interested in business management should read this. I hate reading business books but this seemed more like a 'business' thriller. ...more
Todd Kruse
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent read - exactly the type of book I would have MBA students read in parallel with a textbook. Key lessons for me - 1. the mental discipline required to stay focused on implementation is vital for success 2. Teamwork- dismiss staff who aren’t team players
Nick Lofthouse
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well researched and nicely written history of Ford and Alan Mulally's incredible turn around. I like that Hoffman took the time to highlight the cultural aspects and not just the business and fiscal decisions. As it goes, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." ...more
Veronica Foley
Jul 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Unnecessarily detailed. Very long. It is written like a report for school.
Csaba Hartmann
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book - very exciting to understand the history of Ford and also learn how Alan Mulally saved the company. Lots of action in the book that makes you feel it’s hard to put it down
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
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
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, leadership
This book is a classic in the genre of business success books. It highlights a simple principle, regardless of the external circumstances the one key to success in any business is leadership! Ford Motor Co., an icon in the American automotive industry was preparing to file bankruptcy when Alan Mulally was brought in from Boeing as a new CEO with the hope and expectation that he would be able to avert the decline into bankruptcy and the loss of the "blue oval" that contains the word "Ford."

The bo
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, business
Quite an extensive look at the state of the American auto industry during and immediately prior to the financial crisis of 2008, including the story of Ford avoiding bankruptcy. The book starts with Ford’s declining fortunes under Bill Ford, who steps aside as CEO to bring in Alan Mulally from Boeing. The book did an excellent job in setting the background for Mulally’s early tenure at Ford, including describing the board and Bill Ford’s management and style, Mulally’s experience at Boeing, and ...more
Bob Wallner
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really didn't know much about the Ford turnaround. I remember the bailouts and Ford saying no, but I really didn't know the details behind that. This book provided some insight into how Alan Mulally created a "Team" and was able to steer Ford in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the book leaves off with Mulally still steering the ship. Since his departure, there have been two CEOs neither with much time under their belt. It would be interesting to find out the circumstances that lead to their
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Indeed, a great read. It is not just a business book, it also covers corporate history of one of the Big Three automotives and the crisis of the 2000s. I found the book especially interesting reading it now during the Covid pandemic, being another turmoil both economically, politically, mentally, etc. Alan Mulally is definitely a leader, who is worth of great appraisal. As a side note, I met him very briefly in Moscow in late 2010 when Ford set up a joint venture in Russia. He was exactly as des ...more
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