Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

by Bob Lutz
Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

by Bob Lutz


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When Bob Lutz retired from General Motors in 2010, after an unparalleled forty-seven-year career in the auto industry, he was one of the most respected leaders in American business. He had survived all kinds of managers over those decades: tough and timid, analytical and irrational, charismatic and antisocial, and some who seemed to shift frequently among all those traits.  His experiences made him an expert on leadership, every bit as much as he was an expert on cars and trucks.
Now Lutz is revealing the leaders—good, bad, and ugly—who made the strongest impression on him throughout his career.  Icons and Idiots is a collection of shocking and often hilarious true stories and the lessons Lutz drew from them. From enduring the sadism of a Marine Corps drill instructor, to working with a washed-up alcoholic, to taking over the reins from a convicted felon, he reflects on the complexities of all-too-human leaders. No textbook or business school course can fully capture their idiosyncrasies, foibles and weaknesses – which can make or break companies in the real world.
Lutz shows that we can learn just as much from the most stubborn, stupid, and corrupt leaders as we can from the inspiring geniuses. He offers fascinating profiles of icons and idiots such as...
  • Eberhard von Kuenheim. The famed CEO of BMW was an aristocrat-cum-street fighter who ruled with secrecy, fear, and deft maneuvering.
  • Harold A. “Red” Poling: A Ford CEO and the ultimate bean counter. If it couldn’t be quantified, he didn’t want to know about it.
  • Lee Iacocca: The legendary Chrysler CEO appeared to be brillant and bold, but was often vulnerable and insecure behind the scenes.
  • G. Richard “Rick” Wagoner: The perfect peacetime CEO whose superior intelligence couldn’t save GM from steep decline and a government bailout.
As Lutz writes:
We’ll examine bosses who were profane, insensitive, totally politically incorrect, and who “appropriated” insignificant items from hotels or the company. We’ll visit the mind of a leader who did little but sit in his office. We’ll look at another boss who could analyze a highly complex profit-and-loss statement or a balance sheet at a glance, yet who, at times, failed to grasp the simplest financial mechanisms—how things actually worked in practice to create the numbers in the real world.
The result is a powerful and entertaining guide for any aspiring leader.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591846963
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 543,430
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Bob Lutz had a legendary 47-year career as one of the most respected "car guys" in history. He held senior leadership positions at four of the world's leading automakers—GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW. He was most recently the vice chairman of General Motors from 2001 to 2010, the years leading up to and through GM's bankruptcy. He is the bestselling author of Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of Our Time and Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business. 

Table of Contents

Preface 1

1 What's this guy doing as a high school teacher? Georges-André Chevallaz 5

2 United States Marine Corps: Transforming civilian "turds" into Marines In twelve not-so-easy weeks Staff Sergeant Donald Giusto 13

3 Director of Forward: Planning, GM Overseas Operations Does he know any words besides four-letter ones? Robert "Bob" Wachtler 27

4 Chairman of the Management Board, Adam Opel AG: The trouble with being a teetotaler is waking up at 8:00 A.M. and realizing that that's the best you're gonna feel all day. Ralph Maso 39

5 Chairman and CEO, BMW AG: A Prussian aristocrat with street-fighter instincts. Eberhard Von Kuenheim 53

6 Chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Company: You might not like him, but you've got to respect him. Philip Caldwell 77

7 Chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Company: The bean counter's bean counter. If it can't be quantified, I don't want to know about it. Harold A, "Red" Poling 97

8 Chairman and CEO, Chrysler Corporation: The name is an acronym for "I Am Chairman Of Chrysler Corporation, Always." Lee Iacocca 123

9 Chairman and CEO, Chrysler Corporation: What you saw wasn't what you got. Robert J. "Bob" Eaton 149

10 Chairman and CEO, Exide Technologies: "The Felon" Arthur M. Hawkins 169

11 Chairman and CEO, General Motors: Superior intelligence and human qualities don't always win. G. Richard "Rick" Wagoner 179

Epilogue 193

Acknowledgments 203

Appendix 205

Index 221

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