Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

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9781591846048: Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership

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. The result is a powerful and entertaining guide for any aspiring leader.

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About the Author :

Bob Lutz held senior leadership positions at GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW over the course of an unparalleled forty-seven-year career, culminating in his vice chairmanship of General Motors from 2011 to 2010. He is the bestselling author of Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of Our Time.

From Booklist :

Lutz (Car Guys vs. Bean Counters, 2011) spent 47 years in the car industry, working for iconic automakers GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW. In his career, he witnessed leadership personalities from the admirable to the buffoonish. But he goes beyond his car career to offer a disparate collection of portraits of leaders, from his high-school teacher and marine drill instructor to Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrysler. Most leaders are mentally and emotionally askew, he asserts as he portrays the men (they’re all men) he worked with or under as demanding, often offensive, brutally honest, and sometimes borderline cruel. He remembers Iacocca as an insecure man threatened by subordinates; another auto executive seems to fit the idiot portion of the title. Still, Lutz finds some leadership qualities, or at least cautionary examples of what not to do, in each of his subjects. And it seems to be the point of these entertaining, insightful behind-the-scenes tales of corporate culture that, while leadership can come in all kinds of quirky packages, the greatest benefit lies in the lasting impact it has on the people who work for him—or her. --Vanessa Bush

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Bob Lutz
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