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“Most successful leaders are mentally and emotionally askew. There’s a good side, which gets the job done. There’s often also a downside that makes them hard to understand or difficult to work for. It’s precisely that they are impatient, stubborn, opinionated, unsatisfied, and domineering that makes them successful.”   When Bob Lutz retired from General Motors in 2010, aft“Most successful leaders are mentally and emotionally askew. There’s a good side, which gets the job done. There’s often also a downside that makes them hard to understand or difficult to work for. It’s precisely that they are impatient, stubborn, opinionated, unsatisfied, and domineering that makes them successful.”   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....

Title : Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781591846048
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership Reviews

  • Tie Kim
    2019-01-25 21:26

    This book would probably be disappointing to those familiar with Bob Lutz if he did not present his unabashed views of leaders he’s worked alongside during his distinguished career. As the book’s title suggests, Lutz, in fact does write with ineluctable intensity highlighting the traits of elected leaders he served under (e.g., Lee Iacocca, Phil Caldwell, Rick Wagoner) as well as their “fatuous foibles”. I thought there were passages where he revels a bit too much in schadenfreude as Lutz doesn’t hold back his punches while perched atop his Monday morning quarterback chair.Favorite quotes:* “The greatest fool in the world can ask questions the wisest man can’t answer.”* “As imperfect as you might feel, you’re less imperfect and less undertrained than the others they considered and rejected.”* “Lee, I just don’t like you.” [Henry Ford II to Lee Iacocca on why he was firing Lee instead of promoting him to the role of CEO of Ford]* “malicious obedience”: following orders from your superiors only because you felt you had to, and not because you agreed with the command.

  • Reid
    2019-02-02 16:19

    A personal (and vindictive) note: during the 90s, when the dot-com economy was going full-speed ahead, I was watching a show entitled "Meet the CEO." The show gave me an insight into how to spot an appalling corporate bastard. It featured two executives, one of whom was under forty, I'm sure. The official yet obsequious host then asked the CEOs: What disappoints you the most in employee performance? The younger of the two, whose company ships products that are ordered online, then said he had been disappointed recently when an employee in his hellish warehouse forgot to scrape a pricetag off a product before packing it and shipping it. As he complained about it, the memory "pained" him so much that he actually shook his head in disappointment from side to side, as if to ask: Is it REALLY too much for us to ask? Why can't you get it through your thick heads? Don't you believe in the company? With that gesture, he proved himself to be an anus horribilus, or horrible @sshole, and I realized that the real philosophy of management is: tell your workers to "do more, for less, or else they're fired." You can imagine my contempt when, in 2009, a half-British bastard manager at my current job used the same headshake of disappointment because of some trivial transgression that didn't affect customer service in the least. At that moment I realized there is an institutionalized mentality among modern managers, and if you've seen one, you've seen them all, and their job is to run you into the ground the way that Japanese fascist managers do with their employees. The internet now has plenty of proof to support my theory of modern management. Go to Gawker Media and peruse the lengthy testimonials from shift workers at Amazon and Target who tell about the tools of contemporary management: intimidation, contempt and a flagrant disregard for labor laws and civility. This is the bias through which I interpreted the book Icons and Idiots by "car guy" executive Bob Lutz. I picked up this book after reading an excerpt in Forbes, and I decided to buy it not because author Bob Lutz is merely dispensing commandments of the workplace, but because he is telling insider stories about CEOs -- including famous ones like Lee Iacocca -- that otherwise would never see the light of day. Sure enough, the insider gossip is fascinating. Just as Lutz began his employment at Chrysler, Iacocca accidentally demonstrated some hasty judgment. Ford was about to release its Taurus, a surprisingly successful model that Iacocca was sure would flop. Why? Because in customer surveys, the Taurus received an average of around "5" out of ten, while the new cars Chrysler was coming out with were getting a score of "7". Iacocca declared the Ford Taurus to be "the flop of the century." Lutz knew better, because the data was misleading. The Taurus itself was a stylistic departure that abandoned many of the tropes of American car-making, like the padded roof and the front grille that looked like a Greek Temple. Some were bound to hate it, but others were bound to love it. The ones who hated it gave it a score of 1 or 2 and forgot it -- but the ones who loved it gave it a 9 or 10 out of ten... and that meant they were excited enough to buy it. And they did. (Lutz knew that when people gave a car a 7 out of 10, it wasn't exciting enough to get them to buy it, and Chrysler's sales statistics bore this theory out.) This is why I bought the book, and I wasn't disappointed. Lutz includes a number of leaders -- the first of which is a high school teacher who later rose through the ranks of the civil service and government to become the President of Switzerland. (Have any of your high school principals ever done that?) He is adept at describing their personalities and painting a visual picture of each one at work, including a drill sergeant in the Marines who must have been hell on earth to work under. (Of course, he was preparing the Marines for situations that were bound to go from bad to worse to even worse without a break, so that they would find the inner strength to triumph when all around them was collapsing. The gamut of CEOs are depicted in this book: a smiling backstabber; a relentless Scrooge-like beancounter who, hearing that his assembly-line workers wanted a budget of $1 billion to redesign a car, cagily offered them only $400 million... and simply refused to budge when the engineers on the line tried to meet him halfway. (To the beancounter's credit, the engineers actually got the job done for what seemed like an impossibly low $400 million.) Lutz is writing for car enthusiasts who understand how cars are made, or were made when he was active, so some of the vocabulary is a bit technical for those of us who see cars as tools and not things to obsess over. This is not my main complaint about the book. I run the risk here of reviewing the book that Lutz did not write, but it must be said that Lutz sidesteps the economic forces that have ravaged the industrial labor market since the 1980s. He writes great anecdotes about character-building, which is to be expected of his generation, but he barely acknowledges the savage attacks on the auto workers' standard of living.He makes a passing reference to Roger Smith, the CEO of GM who was pursued relentlessly in the documentary Roger & Me, which documents how tens of thousands of American jobs were wiped out when local automotive factories were offshored. Rather, Lutz deftly avoids some of these unpleasant realities in favor of entertaining gossip and lamentations that leadership is in short supply. But it's hard to see how "leadership" alone will restore the purchasing power that even Henry Ford admitted was necessary for a strong economy. That purchasing power has been offshored to cheap-labor countries like China and Indonesia.It has been well documented that, since China joined the WTO over 10 years ago, America has lost over 50,000 factories to offshoring. Those jobs now pay a fraction of what they used to pay American workers, and the difference has undoubtedly been absorbed into the salaries and bonuses of those in the C-suites of America. The purchasing power of the public has been destroyed as a result, and no amount of "charisma" or "leadership" is going to paper over the fact that a middle-class lifestyle has been shipped out of reach. Those manufacturing jobs will never return unless workers in America agree to work for the same slave wages that the Chinese workers get at factories like Foxconn, which imposes working conditions so degrading that they have had to build "suicide nets" around the workers' dorms to keep them from committing suicide (a fact revealed to the world after the death of Steve Jobs).

  • Josh
    2019-02-21 15:07

    Wasn't what I expected. Heard a fascinating interview with Lutz on the future of automobiles in America. I thought it was going to be about that subject. After the first chapter or two, I though it was going to be a book about leadership. But really, this book is basically dishing on every authority who's ever been over him, and then at the end of the chapter, saying a couple nice things about a person he's been trashing. This seemed to especially be the case as the book went on. Well written, good storytelling. But got to a point where it seemed prideful in giving scathing reviews of others.

  • Gregory P. Bova
    2019-02-16 19:21

    Luz is a pretty good writer but a good story teller. This is a good book but not a great one. He seems to find good in every leader but when he rates then at the end it seems like he was harsher with the rating than the write up. But its a good read I would recommend it.

  • Jay
    2019-01-21 14:09

    Lutz's take on many of his former managers, as well as his drill sergeant, a high school teacher, other auto company executives, and himself. He does this mostly through anecdotes, mostly personal anecdotes, about the leader being examined. He stakes his claim as a car guy, and predictably, the auto industry leaders from that other pack, the bean counters, are held up to quite a bit of ridicule. Note that he does tend to pull his punches, but usually at the end of a chapter on a particular leader. I really enjoyed reading of the appreciation he had of some of the leaders early in his life, especially the drill sergeant and high school teacher. It is nice and different to see someone acknowledge the role these types of leaders have on one's career and personal development. Lutz's wrap-up chapter is really the only place where he suggests how leaders should be taught. This isn't a prescriptive book, it is more a business entertainment. And because of Lutz's career working for the big three and BMW, you get a lot of good car stories along the way.

  • Chris Haak
    2019-02-04 19:31

    This was the second book that I read by Bob Lutz, former auto industry executive (and I believe his third book overall). It was a series of profiles about the executives he worked under during his long career in the auto industry. Despite the title, there isn't much content on the "idiot" side of the ledger; Lutz seems to pull his punches with almost every executive that he profiles and finds the good in every person despite their managerial idiosyncrasies. The best part of the book was the "inside baseball" stuff that described with some humor the behind-the-scenes activities behind some key periods of Lutz's career. He's a gifted storyteller. The worst part was that the content of the book didn't live up to either the title's promise or to Car Guys vs. Bean Counters, his last book.

  • Andrew Mutch
    2019-02-14 20:14

    If you're looking for deep insights on leadership, you won't find it here. But it is an entertaining read on some of the history of the US and foreign auto companies and the men who led them ending with a short summary of Lutz's views on leadership. While Lutz dishes dirt on some of these icons on the auto industry, you almost got the feeling that Lutz held back a bit despite the "straight talk" tagline. Even so, there's likely to be some eye opening moments as Lutz pulls back the curtains on some eccentric behavior by some of the auto industry's most powerful men (everyone profiled is a man). This is a quick read and recommended for those who have an interest in the auto industry or interpersonal relationships in the corporate world.

  • Boone
    2019-01-24 16:09

    Bob Lutz is a huge personality in the automotive world and rightly admired by many. He is the quintessential "car guy" who is outspoken in his belief that US carmakers need to make vehicles people actually desire and not just settle for because of incentives. I only wish the book wasn't so full of "I was right and he was wrong" stories. If it had been tempered with some "well, I totally got that wrong but here's what I learned from it....." it definitely would have been more interesting. Perhaps he never made a mistake. I dunno. This has definitely made me want to read his other book "Car Guys Vs. Bean Counters" and hope that it isn't similarly so arrogant.

  • Cindy
    2019-01-26 20:21

    Not quite what I was expecting but still pretty good. Lots of insight into this guy's career in the auto industry. There's more on the icon side and less of the idiots. He does discuss the foibles of some of his bosses (alcoholics and felons among them) and yet pulls his punches even then. I did like the descriptive term of 'malicious obedience' to describe doing the request to the letter, all the while knowing that it will not work/wasn't what was intended/you're going ahead with what you wanted as well.

  • Neil Wigner
    2019-02-01 18:31

    I want to write "life changer", "best book of my professional life", but I hate those reviews. Except it's true. This gave me a perspective on business and life in general that I didn't have, in fact could not have without Bob's experience. Nope I don't know how to change the world, but I know that little matters at the end of the day other than doing your best and making the best of where you are, even if you are at (or close to) the "top".

  • Malloreon
    2019-01-30 17:14

    I loved Bob's first book, so when I saw him again on Autoline After Hours, I immediately picked up his sophomore effort. Again, this book is very funny and offers unique insight's into the leadership styles of the automotive CEO he has worked for. The title is a misnomer as he doesn't really highlight and criticize the "idiots" of the automotive industry; what a shame.

  • Christinek
    2019-01-26 20:08

    Icons and Idiots...almost didn't read this because I don't like the title, but being from Detroit the auto industry is always fascinating. It is wonderful, funny and interesting. Bob Lutz (former vice chairman of General Motors)is a nice man who gives an insiders look at the workings of the auto industry and its' leaders.

  • B Shelton
    2019-02-14 17:31

    Not really a "How To" book on leadership, Mr. Lutz does explore the pros and cons of each person he has worked for in his long career. In fact, he even provides a matrix rating of each boss described in the book. For anyone that has lived in the Motor City for more than a hot second, this is definately a must read.

  • Susan Chapman
    2019-02-17 14:33

    Only Bob Lutz could write such an insider's view of leadership in the auto industry. Often hilarious and surprisingly insightful, the book is slightly marred by his truly enormous ego. His criticisms of many in the industry ring true to this 30-year auto industry veteran.

  • Bob Witty
    2019-02-10 16:14

    An interesting look at leadership in the auto industry, and some humor to break up some of the more intense reading I've been doing. Especially like what the acronym IACCOCA stands for; I won't spoil it for those interested in the book.

  • Katherine
    2019-02-06 19:13

    Lutz writes an essay discussing the leadership style of the people he has worked for, beginning with a high school teacher. The book is very instructive, and you get a lot of inside information on the auto industry. It's easy to read each chapter on its own.

  • Roman
    2019-02-03 21:07

    Recorded gossip of an automotive industry executive. Entertaining, but not very thoughtful.

  • Rob Martz
    2019-02-19 18:11

    More like an autobiography than a management critique, but a fun read. Bob Lutz seems like he is job hunting in every chapter.

  • Alt2ning
    2019-01-31 20:29

    Easy to read. Anecdotes open great windows into the leaders profiled. Insightful, but conclusions remain somewhat amorphous.

  • Joseph Duarte
    2019-02-20 18:12

    Entertaining read and great examples of leadership styles.

  • Chad
    2019-01-28 20:21

    The only thing it has against it is that it isn't 'Car Guys'.I'd loved to have heard some more about other executives (Roger Smith), for example.

  • Sanjay
    2019-01-24 21:13

    It was interesting in the beginning but after few pages it turned repetitive and i me myself.