Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Behind Lee Iacocca : The world's best CEO

I read an autobiography of Lee Iacocca, former President of Ford and then CEO of its arch-rivals Chrysler. First guy in the world to lead the top 2 car companies one after another. Here is a small book review/note on his life i've written for my readers:

If Business Executives had a Hall of Fame, Lee Iacocca would probably have a floor dedicated to him. Iacocca's life was wilder then a roller coast, his failures made headlines across the nation and his successes were ‘larger then life'. He came from an Italian immigrant family, and in the first few chapters speaks of his experiences in school, college and pre-Ford life. Initially an engineer, he switched to the sales force and is largely credited for the phenomenal Ford Mustang car and for his nationwide programs along with being credited with the revival of the Mercury Brand and making Ford Fiesta (older model) and was also the ‘moving force' behind Ford Pinto, Mercury Cougar and many other cars.

He rose through the ranks of Ford to become Ford Motor's youngest president and stay on for 8 years, only to fired by an arrogant boss Henry even when the company made record profits of $2 billion. He tasted sweet revenge in an almost capitalistic way by taking Chrysler out of bankruptcy and beating Henry Ford in the marketplace.

Lee Iacocca exemplifies the battered business executive who led a battle for a dying cause to bolster Chrysler, which made his name a symbol of integrity, grit, hard work, and guts for millions of people.

The one quote of his I really loved was
There are times in everyone's life when something constructive is born out of adversity. There are times when things seem so bad that you've got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it.

In one such adversity, he convinced the United States Congress to extend a $1.5 billion loan guarantee to the company (Chrysler). This propelled him to he set up his old management team at Chrysler, sell off their tractors division, and spend aggressively on advertising. In order to make the company profitable he was forced to take very tough decisions like introducing spending cuts, laying-off workers, closing plant divisions and personally taking home a $1 salary to give inspiration to employees to accept pay cuts.

If someone wants to learn and grow, read about leaders, and how to overcome adversities, then this book is a must read for them!

If you like this article, you'll love the book review/note I wrote on Sam Walton too - why not check it out...

Post your comments and interesting stuff on Lee iacocca on our comments page.


  1. Following is the first time Lee Iacocca got famous in America. The time was 1964, and he was just 39 then. This young man was touted as the Father of Ford Mustang. See the cover at the times website:
    Time's magazine cover

  2. "where have all the leaders gone"July 29, 2008 at 3:59 AM

    He reached his prime in the 1970s and revived chrysler in 1980s. Now iacocca just sits and criticizes other people. No doubt this book on his life is great, but the latest one "Where have all the leaders gone" is not even one-fourth as good.
    A little calculation: If he's 39 in 1964, then in 2008 he's 83.

  3. HI Chirag!!!!Sorry cudnt respond to u earlier bt I was realy glad to receive ur cmnt.Hope 2 c u again in future.I hv posted some new posts.Do hv a look on them!!!!!!

  4. I can't ignore that in his book ""Where Have All the Leaders Gone?", Lee Iacocca described that the book How to Win Friends & Influence People By Dale Carnegie bring big influence on him. He also mentioned that he has taken class from Dale Carnegie since age 23. I think everyone should read this book.

    Book recommendation website:

  5. [...] also reviewed books on great people, like Sam Walton and Lee Iacocca and even written on Bill Gate’s departure from [...]

  6. So that’s the story behind the famous ny ford dealers .. Well I may have to say that Lee Iacocca’s credentials are very impressive! He possesses good quality of a leader!