Lee Iacocca: An autobiography

Fri 31 October 2014 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Lee Iacocca was the poster child at Ford, having started from the bottom and worked his way through (being credited with the Ford Mustang) to become the President of the company. Things seemed to be going well until he was fired after sweating it out for more than thirty years at the company.

He was angry at Henry Ford for this but wanted to take a swipe at Henry. Luckily, Chrysler was hunting for a new head and the marriage seemed to be a great fit. Lee was aware that Chrysler wasn't doing well but no sooner than a few months into the job, he realized that the iceberg had hit the ship long back and now the ship was precariously positioned hull up ready to suck all those around it as it went down. Left with few options, he urged the government to agree for a bailout to keep the company and it's employees afloat. He documented all the difficulties he had in getting the politicians to see eye to eye on such a deal.

With the help of a new team he put in, Chrysler turned around and paid off the billions it owed the government. In this process, he also got the opportunity to beat Henry on the sales chart and drive the point that he wasn't a one time wonder and how much Ford lost out by letting him go.

I generally don't read autobiographies because they are fairly narcissistic but this was different. Lee exposes his human side, the mistakes, the gullibility, the hypocrisy between his free-market philosophy and when Chrysler had to go begging around at Capitol Hill.