By Bob Lutz
This book, written in 2011, and released in paperback this spring (with a new Preface), was recommended to me by one of my mentors. I took note and went to Amazon. I’m glad I did.
This book is part expose of the foibles of the auto industry (and big organizations), but while written in an explanatory way it doesn’t shield GM from criticism. From a leadership and management perspective, there are many lessons that Lutz shares about bad decisions made, and the journey to those bad decisions. Yes, Lutz was an insider, and yes, he loves the cars and the industry, but he isn’t opposed to talking about mistakes (large and small).
You may not be in the car industry, but the lessons shouldn’t be lost on you either. You will enjoy the book from the third party perspective, but you will get the most from it when you think about how what you are doing is creating the same sorts of unintended consequences.
The book is also a history lesson about the car business and the economics of it – from nearly the beginning right up to present day. The last third of the book is about the bailout and bankruptcy of GM – so it is quite current in the timelines and lessons shared. Over the years I have read a number of histories of this industry, but most focus on the early days. This more brief book takes us inside the industry at a much more current time.
Expose, history book or leadership text? This book is all three. If you like any of the three genres you won’t be disappointed. When you read it though, keep your mind open because this fascinating read gives you plenty of insights to apply yourself if you choose to find them.
One more thought – if your gift giving list includes a reader who is a car buff, especially if a GM lover, this book is a must purchase. They will thank you early and often.