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The Fords - An American Epic by Collier and Horowitz - Book Review

January 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 192

Title and Author: The Fords - An American Epic by Peter Collier and David Horowitz

Synopsis of Content:This sweeping biography of the Ford family associated with the famous automobile company is worth the read. Beginning with Henry Ford's ancestry and tracing the family and the company through 1987 it gives an insightful view to the eccentricities of the family members as well as his development of the company.

The book traces the history of Henry Ford, the eccentric visionary who struggled to produce a car that everyone could afford - the Model T. From its launch he and the family became immensely wealthy which continues to this day. Then we follow with his eldest son Edsel, who was never able to achieve his vision for the company and who was not well treated by his aging father. Edsel dies relatively young, from poor health. His eldest son, Henry II, takes over at a critical time when others strive to take over the company. Henry II is young and believed to be weak. He soon demonstrates that he is not weak, having much of the pluck of his grandfather without so much of the strangeness. The story ends with Henry II's retirement in the 1980s.

You also learn some interesting and revealing things about the role of the Ford women and how the family suffered in part because of their wealth and the company. Insight is provided about the role Lee Iacocca played until his eventual ouster by Henry II.

In part this is about the palace intrigue of a famous and wealthy American industrial family. In part it is the story of how a privately owned company slowly evolved into a modern public corporation. It is also the story of the struggle to create and meet the public's expectations and desires for automobiles over 8 decades.

If there were nothing to learn from this book it would prove very entertaining. However there is much to be learned about marketing, the need to understand and meet the public's or customer's needs and wants, and about the way a family business can consume people and families. We can often learn a great deal from the struggles, failures and success of others and this book is full of that.

Readability/Writing Quality:This is well written and easy to read. It is an easy narrative style although the authors do use some less common vocabulary from time to time. Unless you are very well read you may want to keep a dictionary handy.

Notes on Author:Peter Collier and David Horowitz met in graduate school and became editors and writers. Among their collaborative works are panoramic biographies of the Rockefellers and the Kennedys. Collier went on to be a publisher and a political writer. Following a similar path Horowitz began as a fellow Marxist with Collier and like him moved to the right becoming a political writer and commentator.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. A combination of determination and hard work can lead to wealth and success as demonstrated by the life and work of Henry Ford. He was highly criticized by family and friends for his crazy ideas, ideas which came to revolutionize the auto industry and change American society in the process.

2. To remain successful any company must meet the changing appetites of the consumer. Henry Ford refused to offer new models or colors and insisted on maintaining the Model T as the Ford primary car long after the public demonstrated a desire for more. His company suffered as a result.

3. Dedication to a company and to business, if taken too far, can have disastrous effects on marriages, families, children and one's health. Unfortunately a number of the Fords suffered from alcoholism, failure and broken families because of their failure to understand the price they were paying to build and maintain the family wealth.

Publication Information:The Fords, An American Epic, by Peter Collier and David Horowitz. Copyrighted by Collier and Horowitz in 1987.

Published by Simon and Schuster.

Rating for this Book Overall Rating for Book: Very Good. Writing Style: Well written. Flows well. Some challenging vocabulary. Usefulness: Offers not only an epic story but also timely lessons on building a company, understanding and meeting the demands of markets and how being consumed by business can take a toll on families.

Daniel R. Murphy writes on success and how you can build wealth. Would you like to learn how others have been successful in business and in life? For a free success ebook and much information which can help make you successful and financially independent visit Begin your self-education today learning how others have become successful and rich! Do it today!

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