Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

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Overview

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 ...

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Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When General Motors VP Bob Lutz retired in 2010 after forty-seven years in the auto, he had amassed a full lifetime of experiences about the rigors of leadership in tumultuous times. He shared some of his management philosophy education in the bestselling Car Guys vs. Bean Counters. In Idiots and Icons, he writes, sometimes with disarming candor, about managers and executives he has known and what they have taught him about effective leadership. A business primer that is as readable as it is instructive.

Publishers Weekly
Auto industry veteran Lutz (Car Guys and Bean Counters) held senior leadership positions at four of the world’s top automakers, including a stint as vice-chairman of General Motors. Here, he offers a fresh twist on leadership lessons, drawing on the positive and negative examples of real-life leaders he encountered over 47 years in the car business. In concise, snappy, often hilarious chapters, Lutz profiles household names like Lee Iacocca and well-known CEOs like Bob Eaton, who ran Chrysler, but most chapters are devoted to rank and lesser known executives he served under throughout his career, including Eberhard Von Kuenheim, who went on to “transform BMW from a tiny, regional auto company into a global luxury-car powerhouse.” Lutz’s experiences in the auto industry will delight car lovers, but even the uninitiated will likely be amused by his lively prose. His vivid attention to detail brings each leader to life, illustrating his or her individual complexities with stories of foibles, political incorrectness, and praiseworthy moments that will draw sighs of recognition from readers who have worked in hierarchical corporations large or small. Agent: Wes Neff, LeighCo Inc. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469027494
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 665,176
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet 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. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    We've all had bad bosses

    We have all had bad bosses, but most of us don't write books about them. Bob Lutz, however, can't seem to let things go. While there are some amusing anecdotes, I could not help feeling that his purpose was to expose the weaknesses of everyone he has ever known. While this reads quickly, it is more of the author's ego trip than any revealing lesson in management.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Great book!

    I liked the author's style. He tells about his working experiences and how those people affected his life, good, bad or indifferent, which made him the great business man today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    A ghost story

    One day a man came to a house and he went down to a basement and he saw a ghost at the corner and he went away but then the door shut and the man was gone and his shoes were still there and man was calling his friends but they couldn't hear him so he was looking looking and fianly his friends saw the basement and they open the door and they saw their friend in there and friend thought they shut the door on him. THE END

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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