April 5, 2015 · 8:19 pm
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Crown Business, $30.00, 464 pages)
“You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” Steve Jobs
Schlender and Tetzeli Connect the Dots
“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” These words from Maxwell Scott seemed to have come to life in Walter Isaacson’s earlier-released biography of Steve Jobs. Isaacson’s version of Jobs’ story relied on commonly stated “facts” about Jobs, which have become the stuff of legend. And these facts strongly emphasized the less desirable aspects of Jobs’ personality and aggressive leadership style.
This new bio by Brent Schendler and Rick Tetzeli presents a kinder, gentler account of the man who co-founded and led Apple Computer; it seeks to get past “The cliche that Steve Jobs was half genius, half a–hole.” And it largely succeeds by emphasizing that any shortcomings on Jobs’ part were due to his dedication to Apple Computer: “He put the needs of the company ahead of any (personal or) work relationship.” That dedication produced the most successful technology company in the world. (It may also have led Jobs to delay cancer surgery that might have spared his life. When he later had the surgery, he was given only a “50-50” chance of living for five years; he survived for seven post-surgery years.)
This excellent account allows one to get to know Jobs as a living, breathing human being – an imperfect, fully goal-oriented man full of “deep restlessness.” Becoming Steve Jobs is such an effective telling of Jobs’ life story that at the conclusion of the book the reader will grieve his death – the world’s loss, all over again.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Becoming Steve Jobs was released on March 24, 2015.
“In this deeply researched book, you’ll find the most truthful portrait of the real Steve Jobs.” Marc Andreessen
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as A book review site, Apple Computer, audiobook, Becoming Steve Jobs, best biographies, best books 2015, best new books, biography, book review, book review site wordpress, book reviews, Brent Schlender, business books, Crown Business, hardbound book release, Joseph Arellano, Joseph's Reviews, Kindle Edition, leadership, life and death of Steve Jobs, Marc Andreessen, March book releases, Maxwell Scott, new books, Nook Book, recommended books, Rick Tetzeli, Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs biography, technology, Unabridged audio book, Walter Isaacson, Wordpress book review site
July 9, 2012 · 4:21 pm
American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman (Crown Business, $26.00, 422 pages)
“At every level of (Ford), managers were being told to save money. They required little convincing. The newspapers told the story every morning: The American automobile industry was collapsing.”
In September of 2008, less than one million cars and trucks were sold in the U.S. (compare this to the 3.1 million sold in June of 2012). The automobile industry was imploding on a level that was once thought unimaginable. Ford was losing less money than G.M. and Chrysler, which was small comfort since it was losing $83 million a day. Alan Mulally – the man who had once saved Boeing – took over a scared company and decided to go on the offensive. He optioned everything Ford owned, including the rights to use its trademark Blue Oval logo, in exchange for the funds needed to literally go for broke. His daring comeback plans proved to be amazingly – and almost shockingly, effective.
“…the decision to go all in had not just provided Ford with the cash it needed to fund its restructuring – it also made it clear to everyone inside and outside the company that there would be no more half-hearted attempts to save the automaker. This time, Ford would finally fix its fundamental problems, or it would die trying.”
Bryce Hoffman presents an engaging story of Ford’s near-miraculous survival, but this telling is tamed by a couple of factors. The most interesting personal accounts of life at Ford were earlier presented in Bill Vlasic’s truly excellent Once Upon a Car. American Icon is also harmed by a poor editing job that finds words missing in some sentences, while other sentences contain unneeded words. Let’s hope the book is properly edited prior to its trade paper release.
“Instead of being known for its gas-guzzling trucks and sport utility vehicles, Ford would be known for its stylish compact cars and crossovers.”
Together, Vlasic’s and Hoffman’s accounts should serve to properly remind American consumers of the proud role that “FoMoCo” has played in our country’s manufacturing history. Ford has become a continuing success story of innovation, daring and common sense; it now builds the type of good quality, fuel-efficient cars that American drivers actually want to drive. (It was the first car manufacturer to switch from SUVs to crossovers.) And the American icon is not Alan Mulally, but the Ford Blue Oval logo that at one time might have been sold – for pennies on the dollar – to a Chinese start-up company to stick on cheap subcompacts. That is one fate that we escaped, thanks to the brilliance of Mr. Mulally.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: The reviewer served on the Ford Motor Company Consumer Advisory Board.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as a book review by Joseph Arellano: American Icon, Alan Mulally, American automobile industry, American car companies, American icon, auto bail-outs, automakers, automotive innovation, Bill Vlasic, book review, Bright Side of the Road, brilliant leadership, Bryce G. Hoffman, business books, cars, Chinese auto companies, Chrysler, corporate mergers, corporate survival, crossover cars, Crown Business, Detroit, efficient cars, FCAB, FoMoCo, Ford Blue Oval logo, Ford Focus, Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Company Consumer Advisory Board, gas guzzlers, General Motors, hardbound release, innovative companies, Joseph Arellano, Joseph's Reviews, Michigan, motor trade, Once Upon a Car, poor editing, recommended books, sport utility vehicles, SUVs, The Big Three, The Fight to Save Ford Motor Company, Wordpress book review site
July 8, 2012 · 9:20 am
A review of American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce C. Hoffman.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as 2008, Alan Mulally, American icon, automobiles, book review, Bryce G. Hoffman, business books, Chrysler, Crown Business, Detroit, Ford, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, GM, Joseph's Reviews, nonfiction, The Fight to Save Ford Motor Company, Wordpress book review site
November 26, 2010 · 5:09 pm
A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers by Lawrence G. McDonald with Patrick Robinson (Crown Business Reprint Edition; $16.00; 368 pages)
“A Colossal Failure of Common Sense describes a CEO acting as if his firm was too big to fail… One might be tempted to think that Lehman’s bankruptcy was too mild a punishment for the firm’s management.” James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal
The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers is now 2 years behind us. It was the largest bankruptcy in history and the first in a series of banking and financial institutional failures linked to the housing bust. It marked a low point in the chronology of Wall Street. Former Lehman vice president of trading, Lawrence McDonald, and a veteran professional writer, Patrick Robinson, have painstakingly detailed the intellect, honesty and caring at the heart of the Lehman trading groups that tried valiantly to warn upper management of the impending doom.
This one hundred and fifty-eight-year-old institution was leveled by a small clique of men at its very top who lacked the restraint and manners that were the key to traditional corporate culture at Lehman. The arrogance, greed, weak egos and excesses (think of TV’s Dynasty) are similar to the unfortunate behaviors exhibited by members of any and all cliques.
We view the action from McDonald’s perspective starting with his early yearning to work at a major player on the Street. If you think every aspect of the real estate bubble and bust has been examined and reported on, think again. This hefty book is written from an insider’s perspective. Credit is given to whomever it is due at both ends of the spectrum of good and evil.
The reader can feel the suspense building as the story continues to develop. This book became a true page-turner prior to its end, even though its conclusion had already been written. Recommended.
This review was written by Joseph Arellano. Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, American bankers, arrogance, audio book, bank failures, bankruptcy, book review, books, business, business books, CEO, Chief Executive Officer, cliques, Crown Business, Dick Fuld, economy, evil, failed executives, failure, financial collapse, financial firms, financial institutions, good, greed, housing crisis, hubris, impending doom, incompetence, James Freeman, Jim Morrison, Joseph Arellano, Joseph's Reviews, Lawrence McDonald, Lehman Brothers, malfeasance, Manhattan, mismanagement, money, morality tale, New York City, nonfiction, page turners, Patrick Robinson, pre-TARP, punishment, real estate bubble, recommended books, Reprint Edition, Richard S. Fuld, Strange Days, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Doors, The Inside Story, The Wall Street Journal, too big to fail, trade paperback, traders, U. S. financial system, U. S. government, unabridged audio books, When the Music's Over