My Years with General Motors

My Years with General Motors

by Alfred Sloan, Sloan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385042352
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1990
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 444
Sales rank: 213,256
Product dimensions: 6.16(w) x 9.23(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Alfred P. Sloan Jr. (1875–1966) was an innovative leader of General Motors during the early twentieth century and served as the company's CEO and president. He oversaw such automotive advancements as four-wheel brakes and ethyl gasoline. In 1963 he wrote My Years with General Motors, a memoir about his experience at the helm of automotive company.

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My Years with General Motors 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
jpsnow on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is so highly rated because Sloan conveys through simple, concise language the solutions to the same problems we have made so complex (not that I know how to simplify them again). He writes it as a story. Credits include Bill Gate's acclaim and my original prompt to read it based on it's inclusion in a list of the top ten business books of all time. Sloan began with an engineering background, some business experience and a successful bearings business. It was bought by GM when the firm was consolidating horizontally and vertically. Sloan was at the front of that early success, from the 20's and into the 60's. To summarize it into one lesson: centralize what is most effective centralized, then let human initiative drive from that common framework. Sloan can be credited with running the first corporation of that size with reason, fair dealing, and a visionary outlook. He foresaw the impact of business trends, war, and technology, and yet he was flexible when the consensus opposed him. He carefully considered their international footprint (and re-entry into Opel when assets were returned after WWII). He brought international talent when the design team needed more new influence. He fits the profile of the Type 5 leader described in "Good to Great" - modest, yet driven (in his words "any personal sacrifice for the cause"). He frequently gives credit to others and only once exhibits the slightest hint of boast in his own capabilities (wondering what would have happened to the French automaker Citroen if he or one of his capable peers had decided to run it). One other management theme: the firm would coordinate more during slow time and in times of expansion or matters of innovation, allow more decentralized control. Sloan divides the auto industry into 3 periods: pre-1908 (class market), 1908 to the mid 1920's (mass market), and beyond that (mass-class market). Four elements drove the transformation into the modern period: installment selling, the used-car trade-in, the closed body, and the annual model (would add improved roads as a driving external factor).
Linda Strauseburg More than 1 year ago