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My Life And Work (The Autobiography Of Henry Ford)

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"My Life and Work" is the autobiography of Henry Ford. Written in conjunction with Samuel Crowther, "My Life and Work" chronicles the rise and success of one of the greatest American entrepreneurs and businessmen. Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company will forever be identified with early 20th century American industrialism. The innovations to business and direct impact on "My Life and Work" is the autobiography of Henry Ford. Written in conjunction with Samuel Crowther, "My Life and Work" chronicles the rise and success of one of the greatest American entrepreneurs and businessmen. Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company will forever be identified with early 20th century American industrialism. The innovations to business and direct impact on the American economy of Henry Ford and his company are immeasurable. His story is brilliantly chronicled in this classic American biography.


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"My Life and Work" is the autobiography of Henry Ford. Written in conjunction with Samuel Crowther, "My Life and Work" chronicles the rise and success of one of the greatest American entrepreneurs and businessmen. Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company will forever be identified with early 20th century American industrialism. The innovations to business and direct impact on "My Life and Work" is the autobiography of Henry Ford. Written in conjunction with Samuel Crowther, "My Life and Work" chronicles the rise and success of one of the greatest American entrepreneurs and businessmen. Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company will forever be identified with early 20th century American industrialism. The innovations to business and direct impact on the American economy of Henry Ford and his company are immeasurable. His story is brilliantly chronicled in this classic American biography.

30 review for My Life And Work (The Autobiography Of Henry Ford)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    You're reading this book and you just think the whole time "man this guy is so awesome and so smart he rules." And you mention it to someone that you're reading it and they say "he was an anti-semite." And you think "oh he couldn't have been. He goes on and on about the worth of all people and he genuinely seems to care about everyone.' And then there's this one random passage in the last chapter where he basically says something like "I know we get a lot of guff for the jew thing but honestly i You're reading this book and you just think the whole time "man this guy is so awesome and so smart he rules." And you mention it to someone that you're reading it and they say "he was an anti-semite." And you think "oh he couldn't have been. He goes on and on about the worth of all people and he genuinely seems to care about everyone.' And then there's this one random passage in the last chapter where he basically says something like "I know we get a lot of guff for the jew thing but honestly it's not that big of a deal when one group of people are so different than everyone else you have to blah blah blah" and you go "wait what?" And that one random passage totally bums you out about Henry Ford because you had convinced yourself he wasn't that bad. And who knows. Maybe he was a product of his time. Read the rest of the book, though, it's spectacular. Also there's all this stuff where he's like "and what's the deal with hospitals they are run so dumb. It's not that hard, I started a hospital and it works great" and you think "uh huh sure" so you google it and yes, in fact, his hospital is still going, and was and STILL IS a great hospital, pioneering in medical care. Weird. This was true with schools too. And railroads. What a ridiculously smart human being.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Kuehn

    Wow. Released around 1923, except for the prices, this book could have been written yesterday. Mr. Ford is a character with very stringent and seemingly unbending views and beliefs on life and what is right and what is wrong. He speaks with great authority and makes many sweeping statements that caused me to wonder. But a great read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mario Tomic

    A book about a man who changed the world with his vision and philosophy. The book is filled with wisdom and core principles about business which are as equally valuable today as it were back then. Hord was a big believer in self-reliance, simplicity, and honest hard work. While most of the other businessmen in his industry were chasing revenue, Henry Ford was focusing on service and developing a good product that would be available for everyone. Entrepreneurs today can learn a lot from this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cole

    Henry Fords “My life and work” was a great book. It was full of great ideas about business and life. In the book he told some about his childhood and growing up, how he grew up on his family farm but always wanted to implement smarter ideas to make his work easier. He told about his business ideas including ways he cut down weight and save money while creating an overall better product. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school or over looking for a thoughtful read that makes you thin Henry Fords “My life and work” was a great book. It was full of great ideas about business and life. In the book he told some about his childhood and growing up, how he grew up on his family farm but always wanted to implement smarter ideas to make his work easier. He told about his business ideas including ways he cut down weight and save money while creating an overall better product. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school or over looking for a thoughtful read that makes you think a lot about the way the world works.

  5. 5 out of 5

    P

    Terrific perspective from a great man whose principles guided him to become one of the most defining men in American industrial history. IMO, this book, although published almost 100 years ago, gives a still timely recipe for what it takes to be successful for any true business person, and should be read by anyone interested in what it takes to be a part of the true "American Dream," a notion that's hanging on only by a thread in this country today. Anyone who's in any kind of manufacturing role Terrific perspective from a great man whose principles guided him to become one of the most defining men in American industrial history. IMO, this book, although published almost 100 years ago, gives a still timely recipe for what it takes to be successful for any true business person, and should be read by anyone interested in what it takes to be a part of the true "American Dream," a notion that's hanging on only by a thread in this country today. Anyone who's in any kind of manufacturing role today should read this book. It's beyond 'techniques' for success - it's about how to make a truly positive difference to the individual, the employees, and to the country as a whole. We were lucky as a nation to have such men as Henry Ford. Truly.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Krishaan Khubchand

    Some interesting ideas, many of which I agree with. Nothing exceptional here though.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah Almuslem

    The 2nd time I read this book and –again- I am impressed by Henry Ford. Henry ford was born July 30, 1863, on a farm at Dearborn, Michigan.US. He was the founder of The Ford Motor Company and the first person to develop the assembly line of mass production. He was the first person to produce a car affordable by public people. When young, he was a very good watch repairman. At the age of twelve, he encountered a road engine one day when he was driving to town and it was that engine which took him The 2nd time I read this book and –again- I am impressed by Henry Ford. Henry ford was born July 30, 1863, on a farm at Dearborn, Michigan.US. He was the founder of The Ford Motor Company and the first person to develop the assembly line of mass production. He was the first person to produce a car affordable by public people. When young, he was a very good watch repairman. At the age of twelve, he encountered a road engine one day when he was driving to town and it was that engine which took him into automotive transportation. His father was not entirely in sympathy with his bent toward mechanics. He thought that he ought to be a farmer. In this book, Ford puts all his ideas about the industry and how business should be run. His main idea that business must not be a way of only generating money, but it must be a way of doing service to public. It must generate jobs, enhance the quality of living and produce more educated people. In the book, He showed that he's against unions that do strikes against their management and he clearly mentioned that Jewish people are destroying the ethics of America ( or to put in his word- trying to make America a Jewish country). Ford had the idea that a lot of people can think, many are well educated but few people are well skilled in putting ideas into practices. He is clearly a practical man who always try to improve and change things. I cannot put words to praise the way Ford see things. He has a very different way of seeing things compared to many great people in history. I will demonstrate how diverse his interest by putting some quotes from the book: My mother always said that I was born a mechanic. Almost any one can think up an idea. The thing that counts is developing it into a practical product. As we serve our jobs we serve the world. There is no place in civilization for the idler. If the man is not right the machine cannot be; if the machine is not right the man cannot be. There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail. What is past is useful only as it suggests ways and means for progress. One idea at a time is about as much as any one can handle. I read everything I could find, but the greatest knowledge came from the work. No work with interest is ever hard. Many inventors fail because they do not distinguish between planning and experimenting. Life, as I see it, is not a location, but a journey. Business men go down with their businesses because they like the old way so well they cannot bring themselves to change. I refuse to recognize that there are impossibilities. It is not necessary for people to love each other in order to work together. I never met a man who was thoroughly bad. There is always some good in him—if he gets a chance. One cannot become skilled by mere wishing There is a pleasure in feeling that you have made others happy—that you have lessened in some degree the burdens of your fellow-men. If any one has anything better than we have we want to know it, and for that reason we buy one of every new car that comes out. The worst sin we can commit against the things of our common life is to misuse them. To teach a child to invest and use is better than to teach him to save. Modern industry requires a degree of ability and skill which neither early quitting of school nor long continuance at school provides. The man who is too set to change is dead already. The funeral is a mere detail. Some men get rich out of war; others get poor. But the men who get rich are not those who fought or who really helped behind the lines. No patriot makes money out of war. Trying to take the trade of the world can promote war. It cannot promote prosperity. A man's real education begins after he has left school. True education is gained through the discipline of life. What can you do to help and heal the world? That is the educational test. Every man of common sense knows that there are men whom he dislikes, who are really more capable than he is himself. When laziness, carelessness, slothfulness, and lack-interest are allowed to have their own way, everybody suffers. It is fair to say that this book should be studied not just read… An Excellent book and highly recommended

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steven Mccarthy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is all about Henry Ford. Telling the reader about his life as a small children all the way to his successful career in Ford's Motor Company. It is full of information and facts about him and his business. Like when he was 15 he took apart and repaired a hand watch. Also this book has information about when he created his self-propelling engine and his first vehicle the Quaricycle. I really liked this book about it was full of information about Henry Ford and his life. I think that Henry This book is all about Henry Ford. Telling the reader about his life as a small children all the way to his successful career in Ford's Motor Company. It is full of information and facts about him and his business. Like when he was 15 he took apart and repaired a hand watch. Also this book has information about when he created his self-propelling engine and his first vehicle the Quaricycle. I really liked this book about it was full of information about Henry Ford and his life. I think that Henry Ford did do a good job writing this book. This book was really good and was a page turner. I have always had an interest in cars since I was younger and still do. In this book I did learn something valuable because even when Henry Ford's father wanted him to become a farmer he didn't lose hope in his interest in mechanics. I think a lot of people who may wonder what Henry Ford's life was like should read this. I give this book a 4 out of 5 because it is a good book an full of facts and information. I give it a 4 because I liked it and when I was reading it, it made me zone out of reality and just keep reading. I also liked this book because Henry Ford is a interesting person and invented something that almost all people use today.

  9. 4 out of 5

    May Ling

    Summary: Must read. It's often quoted, but without having read this, you can only but have these intense words of wisdom out of context. Ford was a genius and he would have been a success even today. Wow. This is a top 5 book for 2019 for me. P. 8 - He talks about work being the natural order of things and that to move against it will cause angst. He just thinks that if we're going to do it, we ought to do it cleverly. He then says: "I am not a reformer. I think there is entirely too much attempt Summary: Must read. It's often quoted, but without having read this, you can only but have these intense words of wisdom out of context. Ford was a genius and he would have been a success even today. Wow. This is a top 5 book for 2019 for me. P. 8 - He talks about work being the natural order of things and that to move against it will cause angst. He just thinks that if we're going to do it, we ought to do it cleverly. He then says: "I am not a reformer. I think there is entirely too much attempt at reforming in the world and that we pay too much attention to reformers. We have two kinds of reformers. Both are nuisances." He then talks about the type of person that would smash a button because the butthole is too small, rather than just fix the size of the hole. From here he talks about the difference between a business person vs. a reformer. He is so ahead of all those that might describe business as the act of solving problems. Brilliant. p.10 - He talks about how the man who works with his hands is often at odds with the man who works with his brain. He sites the Bolshevik revolution who threw out everyone with a brain only to realize they can't do much with more IQ points. He sees these "reformers" as a sort of evil as they try to drive discontent between those who work with their brains vs. their hands. As relates to the two types of reformers then: "The one crowd wants to smash up the whole world to make a better one Th other holds the world as so good that it might well be let stand as it is - and decay. The second notion arises as does the first - out of not using the eyes to see with. It is perfectly possible to smash this world, but it is not possible to build a new one. It is possible to prevent the world from going forward, but it is not possible to prevent it from going back - from decaying." His point is the world is either in a forward or backward motion. p. 11 - "Speculation in things already produced - that is not business. It is just more or less respectable graft. But it cannot be legislated out of existence." He is very anti-gov, but his way of talking about it is a bit more clear than others as it predates a lot of the crazy structures that are now our US gov. p. 16 - This is so relevant in this current period of nonsense within private equity - "It is the function of business to produce for consumption and not for money or speculation. Producing for consumption implies that the quality of the article produced will be high and that the price will be low - that the article be one which serves the people, and not merely the producer." This whole concept of customer-centric was all Ford's way of thinking. p. .17 - "An it is absolutely necessary to have money. But we do not want to forget that the end of money is not ease but the opportunity to perform more service." He's super against a life of ease. I have mixed feelings about this. I think in modern times you can do what you love as long as you apply yourself. Still, I think that he's likely right for the most part. p. 18 - I just thought this quote is funny (albeit I'm taking it out of context). "I think that dress reform for women - which seems to mean ugly clothes - must always originate with plain women who want to make everyone else look plain." p.20 - This flies in the face of what a lot of start-ups are doing. But I tend to agree. He talks about businesses that start with no knowledge of how to produce or market. He says these incremental improvements really never end up being good businesses. He'd rather people not do much until they really know what it is they are actually doing. It's kind of brilliant. I've totally struggled with helping start-ups that get too much of overly nonsensical pivot advice at the expense of really producing something (an MVP and then trying to market it). p.21 - He talks about how they go about what we now call innovation and how others do it incorrectly. I'm paraphrasing, but in today's words, they test out MVPs and then figure out how to improve manufacturing once they prove it's a good product. There is nothing incremental about it. p. 21-23, These pages are key for my research. The idea is that Ford knew that every single aspect of his work would change, from the raw materials to the tools (which he himself was building when it made sense). there was no consideration that things would be stable. "Our big changes have been in methods of manufacturing. They never standstill." I believe that there is hardly a single operation in the making of our car that is the same as when we made our first car of the present model. That is why we make them so cheaply." p. 23 - "I have striven toward manufacturing with a minimum of waste, both materials and of human effort, and then toward distribution at a minimum of profit, depending on the total profit upon the volume of distribution." He pays the most he can given these constraints. He has 3 principals: 1) An absence of fear of the future and of the veneration for the past. 2) A disregard of competition. 3) The putting of service before profit. 4) Manufacturing is not buying low and selling high... Profit must and inevitably will come as ar reward for good service. The last one people have said so often, but they focus WAY too much on service. It's a balance. You create quality because the quality is the point. It has embedded within it service. Not this crazy nonsense I keep hearing spewed by people with no experience. You have to actually add value. p. 38 - Ford had to choose between staying at Edison or his car biz. He chose the car biz and quit on August 15, 1899. I think it's interesting that he was 36 years old. He had experience. When you think about how old Jeff Bezos is and you think about everyone in today's age that is so much younger. It's just fascinating. p.49 - As he thinks about the bankers that come in try to run his biz: 1) That finance is given a place ahead of work and therefore tends to kill the work and destroy the fundamental of service 2) That thinking first of money instead of work brings on fear of failure and this fear blocks every avenue of business -- it makes a man afraid of competition, of changing his methods, or of doing anything which might change his condition. 3) That the way is clear for anyone who thinks first of service - of doing the work in the best possible way. P. 51 - He goes on a rant about standardizing. His point is the highest quality at the lowest possible price is what you should be providing but people think of this as standardization and they are WRONG. Standardizing implies "The freezing of design and method and usually works out so that the manufacturer selects whatever article he can the most easily make and sell at the highest profit. The public is not considered either in the design or in the price." There's a bunch more and he thinks it's folly. p. 59 - at first he had to use the materials that were offered. Later he describes in subsequent pages the types of machines he created and how they saved a lot of money. P. 76-77 The way he thought about good cars are: 1) Quality in material to give service in use. 2) Simplicity in operation. This was super controversial. p. 81 - "It is self-evident that a majority of the people in the world are not mentally - even if they are physically - capable of making a good living." His point is that we are dependent on each other. And also, there is no need to be mean to people that make a living with their mind. p. 83 - A Ford car contains about 5,000 parts - that is counting screws, nuts, and all. p. 84 - he talks about the birth of the assembly line. The idea was to reduce the waste related to space and time. p. 85 - he got the idea fro watching Chicago packers dressing beef. p. 89 - he hates people that dwell on what "can't be done." as a result, he cares not about what someone's past is when hiring. He cares what they are capable of in the future. For that reason, he goes on to talk about how he's leering of experts. p.95 - He doesn't trust work friends, b/c he thinks they cover up for each other at the expense of each other's capabilities and his firm. p. 100 - He talks about growing your talent from within. p. 106 - His thoughts on automation are brilliant. He saw the world as growing, so he did not see a reason to fear the loss of a job. P. 110 he has a lot to say about hiring disabled men. remember he's speaking from the time of WW1 and trying to figure out how to help those that served. His point is to allow them to be profitable, don't put them in conditions to fail or be made to feel less than. p. 113 - Wow... he kept stats on his employees like crazy. They had 9,563 "substandard men" who we would no deem those with physical disabilities. He truly enumerated everyone of them including epileptics. WOW! They stopped enumerating at one point, but I wish they hadn't. WOULD HAVE LOVED To go through those numbers. If ANYONE at Ford is reading this, please call me if you want this work done. Actually this whole page is an HR dream. He talks about who took time off and how they did it and if they had to be fired because of it. There are also stats on women, which were only hired if their man did not have a job. p.115 - talks about how to minimize politics and handle fights. It's crazy. I will have to revisit all of this at some point. p. 121 - Again in this world of start-up private equity nonsense - "If men, instead of saying 'the employer ought to do thus-and-so would say, "the business ought to be so stimulated and managed that it can do thus-and-so," they would get somewhere. because only the business can pay wages. Certainly, the employer can not..." p. .129 - the order of who ought to get paid is a bit sexist, but it's here and it was a point in time. Sadly, the world still works this way. p. 131 - He talks about how Easy Money messes up the ability to have work. Easy money makes men lazy. And giving people too much money too early makes them lazy. p. 149 He makes the point that if you can pay someone 6$ but make more or have them be more productive/lowers unit costs, but you only pay them that if that's true (i.e. it makes him less worried, more focused, etc). p. 150 - You only standardize at the end. You do not start with standardization (design, etc). This is freakin brilliant actually. I need this for my book for sure. p. 161 - He talks about how money is provided exactly at the wrong time for a lot of companies, i.e. when they need it and aren't able to make it. You should be trying to shore this up when you don't need it and when it's used for pure expansion. The rest you should just let fail and die. p. 178 - "And that is the danger of having bankers in business. They think solely in terms of making money. They think of a factory as making money, not goods. They want to watch the money, not the efficiency of production. They cannot comprehend that a business never stands still, it must go forward or go back." He goes on... it's pretty brilliant. p. 179 - "No financial system is good which favors one class of producers over another." p. 182-184 - This whole discussion of his point of view of the gold standard. so brilliant. Will likely need to revisit. p. 211 - "The charitable system that does not aim to make itself unnecessary is not performing service." p. 212 - He talks about the use of prison laborers but in a way that is actually progressive to reforming people to have a livelihood after jail. P. 213 - He talks about the failure to skill/educate as a burden on the state. We have so moved away from this. p. 225 - this whole section is amazing if you're trying to understand the current ridiculousness of the the US Railway system. p. 242 - He talks about how War is bad for business and the only businesses that benefit are doing so at the expense of the people in way the government should protect against. Sadly, he says the interests are not aligned to ever do that. p. 257 - He's got an opinion about unions from that period. But this is still a great quote: "The only true labor leader is the one who leads labour to work and to wages, and not the leader who leads labor to strikes, sabotage, and starvation." p. 269 - "There are two fools in this world. One is the millionaire who thinks that by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power, and the other is the penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the money from one class and give it to another, all the world's ill will be cured. They are both on the wrong track... If we all created wealth up to the limits, the easy limits, of our creative capacity, then it would simply be a case of there being enough for everybody, and everybody getting enough" He then talks about the concept of abundance outside of money. That should be taken care of. the money is something different. (p. 272) p. 279 "If the factory system which brought mediocrity up to a higher standard operated also to keep ability down to a lower standard - it would be a very bad system... "More brains are needed to-day than ever before, although perhaps they are not needed in the same place as they once were." He called this the mental power-plant. It's just a seriously brilliant book. Wow. Love it. Top 5 for sure.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jay Waghray

    Good stuff. Aside from the antisemitism

  11. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine Henry

    Wow.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    4 stars "The natural thing to do is to work - to recognize that prosperity and happiness can be obtained only through honest effort." My Life and Work is the autobiography of Henry Ford, an industrialist and the founder of Ford Motor Company. On this book, Ford starts by describing his first meeting with clockworks and automobiles and a little of his story before he founded Ford Motor Company and how he worked to make it start and grow. As the Ford Motor Company become well-established and well-kno 4 stars "The natural thing to do is to work - to recognize that prosperity and happiness can be obtained only through honest effort." My Life and Work is the autobiography of Henry Ford, an industrialist and the founder of Ford Motor Company. On this book, Ford starts by describing his first meeting with clockworks and automobiles and a little of his story before he founded Ford Motor Company and how he worked to make it start and grow. As the Ford Motor Company become well-established and well-known, Ford presents the reader his views on business, industry and mass production, wages and money, social concerns and charity and how he applied the principles of the Ford Motor Company plants to a school, a hospital and the railroad. He also, but very superficially, mentions his anti-Semitism. I found this book to be very interesting: Henry Ford was a visionary for his time – he kept a successful business, happy employees and happy consumers. Not only that, but he successfully applied his principles to other areas and businesses making them efficient and self-sufficient as well. Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company are important symbols of the 20th century automobile and industrial production; anyone who is interested in automobile and industrial history or enjoys reading biographies will enjoy this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kevin McDonagh

    This is gold. I had hoped but never imagined to the extent that Henry Ford was the real deal entrepreneur. Ford was the original engineer who embraced the power of economic markets to further his aims for humanity. His life, work, schools and systems of education are awe inspiring. Young farmer Ford took 12 years until he created the model T. His first car was hellishly noisy, had no reverse, two gears and bicycle wheels. He thought farmers would appreciate his automated trawlers but instead the This is gold. I had hoped but never imagined to the extent that Henry Ford was the real deal entrepreneur. Ford was the original engineer who embraced the power of economic markets to further his aims for humanity. His life, work, schools and systems of education are awe inspiring. Young farmer Ford took 12 years until he created the model T. His first car was hellishly noisy, had no reverse, two gears and bicycle wheels. He thought farmers would appreciate his automated trawlers but instead they feared being replaced and having no jobs! The humanity behind Ford’s intentions has been largely forgotten. The negatives of his factory line model have eclipsed a conversation around it’s place within a wider system of values and progression for all those involved. He employed 10s of thousands of men through innovation after innovation, largely creations and investigations which were products of the men he employed. I implore anyone who may criticise Henry Ford to first read of him through his own words.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Navallo

    Inspiring, but written in old English and not so much an autobiography. Only the first chapter highlights some details about his life. The rest are just his thoughts on business and on life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I was really inspired in the first half of the book, but I found the second to be very repetitive.

  16. 4 out of 5

    srihari sundar

    Gets boring from the middle.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maxim

    Pretty nice. Interesting facts on how Ford started his own business. Allowed me to re-think some key items regarding your own path and how you should live your life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Volodymyr

    This is a truly amazing book with tons of great insights into building great companies, efficient manufacturing and general organization of society.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vismay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have read books by writers with fanciful imagination. Finally, I got time enough to read one by the author who has always captured people’s fancy and imagination. His accomplishments have inspired many, and we can’t really do without his useful little contraption. A rigorous capitalist who wishes to do a service to his people, Henry Ford is indeed a man of many contradictions (or so it seems to the casual observer!). I had My Life and Work for quite some time. But being a lazy reader who is co I have read books by writers with fanciful imagination. Finally, I got time enough to read one by the author who has always captured people’s fancy and imagination. His accomplishments have inspired many, and we can’t really do without his useful little contraption. A rigorous capitalist who wishes to do a service to his people, Henry Ford is indeed a man of many contradictions (or so it seems to the casual observer!). I had My Life and Work for quite some time. But being a lazy reader who is continually being pampered and indulged by fiction writers, I had difficulty in going through it as not even a single fly was killed or a zit was popped by the end of first few pages. Hence the reading of the aforementioned book was deferred until this reader was possessed of sane judgement. If Mr. Ford was to read this review, he would remark angrily, ‘Stop being such a wuss.’ Time and again, I do make the right decisions and one of them was to once again pick up the book. I have inherently believed that only a strongly opinionated man could achieve what he set out to do. Experience has given him an insight into the workings of the world, and he has a firm set of notions about how it works and what is needed to be done to change the status quo. With well-defined set-points and laws framed to govern one’s life, one can systematically find his way to ‘success’ (but Mr. Ford will shirk away from using that word as he considers it as an epitaph). You might not agree to all that Henry Ford has to say, but this is one Working Man’s manual you can’t do without. The book is riddled with useful aphorisms. Sample this where he instructs the young to not be parsimonious: Young men ought to invest rather than save. They ought to invest in themselves to increase creative value; after they have taken themselves to the peak of usefulness, then will be time enough of laying aside, as a fixed policy, a substantial share of income. This one tells them to have patience: …it is the fellow who can stand the gaff of routine and still keep himself alive and alert who finally gets into direction. It is not sensational brilliance that one seeks in business, but sound, substantial dependability. Big enterprises of necessity move slowly and cautiously. The young man with ambition ought to take a long look ahead and leave an ample margin of time for things to happen. To inspire and to instruct happens to be his motto! The single most important message that Mr. Ford wishes to convey through this book is to do a business, keeping service to the society as the basic objective, not the profit. Though he believes that profit is essential for business to expand and surplus isn’t essentially evil, service to his fellow men is of prime importance to him. Yet his idea of service is different. According to him, service means to offer useful products to his customers at affordable prices and to ensure the well-being of his employees. It is not good management to make profits at the expense of worker’s wages or by exacting a large price from the customers by selling them inferior quality products, he believes in making “the management produce the profits”. Only one recourse to profit was provided, “Put brains into the method, and more brains, and still more brains – do things better than ever before; and by this means all parties to business are served and benefitted”. At the same time, he didn’t believe in charity as that increased the non-productive costs of the company (he was blunt!) and created a society where “whole sections of our population were coddled into a state of expectant, childlike helplessness”. He feels that philanthropy should try to make charity unnecessary, by making people self-reliant. The business of philanthropy is to ensure that it soon goes out of business! To this end he established a training institute for the young and affordable hospital providing quality healthcare. Also, as a rule, he was against employing differently-abled people in jobs which didn’t utilize their 100 percent. He rigorously evaluated each type of job work that was being performed in his company, how much effort has to be put into a particular job, which faculties are to be used in executing that job, and identified areas where a blind or a crippled man can perform at his efficient best. Hence he didn’t employ them with a regard of doing charity for the society, he employed them as regular workers, who worked with dignity and got full-pay. He was forever finding synergies between industry and farm. He advised his plant workers to go farm during the slump period, and provided non-seasonal employment to the farmers once the crops have been harvested. He constantly searched for ways and means to remove the drudgery out of farming with the use of machines. It was with this intention of making a farmer’s life easy that he set out in the business of making cars (and tractors!). Though he intended to remove the drudgery from work, he firmly believed that there was no substitute for hard work. Stop being so goddamn sentimental and work hard! He hated lazy people. Yet at times, while reading the book, I felt exasperated. How can a person believe that business needs monopoly to counter bad capitalism?! Sample this argument: Whosoever does a thing best ought to be the one to do it. It is criminal to try to get business away from another man – criminal because one is then trying to lower for personal gain the condition of one’s fellow-men, to rule by force instead by intelligence. Wouldn’t market forces take care of that? If a guy is producing good quality product at a cheaper rate, people would assuredly buy from him and the other guy would be forced to adapt or shut shop. Granted, he sounds convincing, when he argues like this: ..destructive competition lacks the qualities out of which the progress comes. Progress comes from a generous form of rivalry. Bad competition is personal. It works for the aggrandizement of some individual or group. It is a sort of warfare. It is inspired by a desire to ‘get’ someone. It is wholly selfish. That is to say, its motive is not pride in a product, nor a desire to excel in service, nor a wholesome ambition to approach to scientific methods of production. And though he appears to encourage “generous form of rivalry” in the above extract, it is my observation that throughout the book he considers all competition as BAD. There is nothing like a GOOD monopoly. The market needs to function freely, if providing better services at cheaper costs, is one’s motive! The other thing which confuses me is his stand on financing. I totally agree when he says that when a business is having troubles, it mustn’t be financed from outside but must be restructured internally so as to weed out bad management decisions. I can even understand his aversion for evil, manipulative bankers, but he is against paying dividends to the stockholders! Though he has specifically mentioned that financing is perfectly valid when one goes for expansion, yet I find it difficult to digest that he refuses to pay dividends to the people who have invested in his company but expects them not to be driven by the money-aspect! Why would any person, invest in any company, if not to earn money? When it is your belief that the entire profit must be used to further your business and increase the purview of service you render and not pay any dividends to money-minded investors who couldn’t see the big picture, don’t take money from them in the first place! He is also anti-immigration and anti-globalization. I won’t explicate my stand on these aspects as it would simply be brushed aside by the argument that I am Indian. Yet indeed he was a great man. And this is a great book. I have written this review solely on the basis of the book, and I haven’t considered the man. I am indeed in awe with the person who brought about a dramatic change in society which initially thought that motor-vehicles were a luxury only within purview of the rich. He was a pioneer and a hard working man, an inventive genius with managerial acumen. Henry Ford is a person worth emulating and My Life and Work is indeed an SOP for every business.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matjaz

    A great look into Ford's mind. This man was a hardcore industrialist, business all day, every day. His level of practicality was bordering on insanity. The lightness and simplicity of step by step solutions that were actually put to practice leaves you awestruck, even after 100 years. He took no prisoners, he described his friend Edison as a brilliant scientist but basically a sh*t businessman: "I am not sure that he is not also the world's worst business man. He knows almost nothing of business. A great look into Ford's mind. This man was a hardcore industrialist, business all day, every day. His level of practicality was bordering on insanity. The lightness and simplicity of step by step solutions that were actually put to practice leaves you awestruck, even after 100 years. He took no prisoners, he described his friend Edison as a brilliant scientist but basically a sh*t businessman: "I am not sure that he is not also the world's worst business man. He knows almost nothing of business." Bankers, lawyers, doctors... all great people, we can't do without but all dumb when it comes to knowledge on business. Farmers? World's biggest time wasters at the time. But above all else he absolutely despised all kinds of speculators that got rich from interest and get rich quick schemes. His modus operandi: profit as a result, not a goal. I swear it'll make you want to open a small factory right there at the spot of reading at least once. Of course there are some eyebrow-raising (especially the uneasy parts about Jews) passages which I think were the consequence of his (beyond) workaholic mind and massive ego as a consequence of his gargantuan success. He thought that he can get into any field, had opinion about everything and basically tried to apply the concept of a factory to everything in the world (even hospitals). I'm surprised that his final wish wasn't a casket on a conveyor belt into a furnace... In any case I suggest that you read it in an "separate art from the artist sort of way" as some of his thoughts were cringe-worthy but the business aspect is just superb. Also on a separate note: sad that not much has changed in purely work hours sense in a 100 years. So much automation and technological progress and most of the world still toils away long hours year after year to meet ends meat... light 4/5

  21. 5 out of 5

    George Florin

    Absolutely brilliant. I believe that Henry Ford had a ghost writer as well, but the ideas, the execution and the storyline are his entirely (which is quite obvious since it's his biography). The things he did for industry in general have truly revolutionized the world of business. Starting with the assembly line (which was also described a little earlier by Adam Smith in "A wealth of nations") up to the reductions in costs and unnecessary personnel, he becomes, in my opinion, the definition of eff Absolutely brilliant. I believe that Henry Ford had a ghost writer as well, but the ideas, the execution and the storyline are his entirely (which is quite obvious since it's his biography). The things he did for industry in general have truly revolutionized the world of business. Starting with the assembly line (which was also described a little earlier by Adam Smith in "A wealth of nations") up to the reductions in costs and unnecessary personnel, he becomes, in my opinion, the definition of efficiency. He describes the way his attitude towards the automobile industry and manufacturing industry in general might not be 100% applicable today. If today we live in a world of "sensitive snowflakes", millenials (myself included) that care more about the way the workspace looks, how is the dress code or if they get free coffee from bio/ vegan/ gluten free sources, he bluntly said that does not care about that and the workers shouldn't, either, as it in interferes with the manufacturing process. Henry Ford created a legacy. He left behind not only one of the biggest brands in the world, but also a business ethic code and some seeds of truth that still apply today, 100 years after the book was written. I support at least 90% of what he is saying, and I truly believe that there can be no progress without work, or just for the sake of progress. So if you want to learn a little more about his life and the intriguing way he started and build Ford Motors Company, please read this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dhruv Sharma

    Not good. Only upto page no 96 his biography exists that too also on very broad level without much details of struggle and challenges. Except 4-5 points which were really the meat in this whole book everything is rushed up. Rest of the book is his views of various things like money, Soceity, people, poverty etc. which are way too outdated as per today’s law and culture. You will be able to find more details about his achievements, personal and professional life on google in 5 mins rather than inves Not good. Only upto page no 96 his biography exists that too also on very broad level without much details of struggle and challenges. Except 4-5 points which were really the meat in this whole book everything is rushed up. Rest of the book is his views of various things like money, Soceity, people, poverty etc. which are way too outdated as per today’s law and culture. You will be able to find more details about his achievements, personal and professional life on google in 5 mins rather than investing time in reading this book of 240 pages. Fords afterward journey of Henry Ford from being worlds 6th richest man to the situation where in 2008 US government had to intervene financially to help Ford from becoming bankrupt is something which is obviously not covered as this was written around 8-9 decades earlier. The only reason I started reading this book was to find out details which are normally not available online but I was disappointed to see that more than 50% of the book is waste of time and un-knowledgable. Not at all recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vlejd

    Amazing autobiography. Full of wisdom (business one and personal one as well) that he actually lived by (and scientifically tested)! 1) Very little case for charity. You rarely need to just give money to someone. Instead, find a full work that they can do (and normally would be done by a healthy person). Missing limbs, being blind having TBC, no problem at all! A lot of jobs do not require both hands, you can do them by touch or you can be isolated form other people. The question is how to allow Amazing autobiography. Full of wisdom (business one and personal one as well) that he actually lived by (and scientifically tested)! 1) Very little case for charity. You rarely need to just give money to someone. Instead, find a full work that they can do (and normally would be done by a healthy person). Missing limbs, being blind having TBC, no problem at all! A lot of jobs do not require both hands, you can do them by touch or you can be isolated form other people. The question is how to allow you to produce value! No place for any pettiness or condescending charity. 2) If you focus on good service, improving processes, reducing costs and eliminating waste, you can achieve amazing results in all kinds of fields. This car engineer run a hospital (and a school for good measures) !?!?!? There was also a lot of nice plain truth that is very applicable today. Like the fact, that people have uneven skill, and what are the consequences of that.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karandeep

    Half of what Henry Ford writes can be implemented even today, clearly not much has changed over the last 100 years atleast when it comes to manufacturing except for higher automation. The book gives an insight on how he cut costs and managed to reduce prices and how he got people around to drive cars which were meant for everybody but perceived as luxury. From a marketing perspective he positioned his cars in such a way it felt real not a dream(atleast from the number he projects which should be Half of what Henry Ford writes can be implemented even today, clearly not much has changed over the last 100 years atleast when it comes to manufacturing except for higher automation. The book gives an insight on how he cut costs and managed to reduce prices and how he got people around to drive cars which were meant for everybody but perceived as luxury. From a marketing perspective he positioned his cars in such a way it felt real not a dream(atleast from the number he projects which should be true) The handling of labourers and their wages and jobs that can be done by a person with some form of disability was also quite interesting. The last part of the book goes from business to personal thoughts which was pretty bland. Lot of notes were made and a lot of pointers taken. Do check it out.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Arturas

    While reading this I could ignore similarities of what Henry Ford was doing 100 years ago, and how industry reacted to his innovations, to what is happening now with Elon Musk and Tesla. I think this is one of those cases if you want to understand what is happening now and what to expect in the future, you need to look back in history. Book goes through some fundamental ideas and principals that I think if more people would understand we would have a better world. At times book is repetitive but While reading this I could ignore similarities of what Henry Ford was doing 100 years ago, and how industry reacted to his innovations, to what is happening now with Elon Musk and Tesla. I think this is one of those cases if you want to understand what is happening now and what to expect in the future, you need to look back in history. Book goes through some fundamental ideas and principals that I think if more people would understand we would have a better world. At times book is repetitive but still a fine read, and I would recommend anyone interested in Engineering and manufacturing. Just keep in mind what time book was written and that not everything translates to current age.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marek

    When you realized that it was published on 1922 and rules has still a lot of sense for today business it is much bigger fun in reading.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abdullah

    This is not exactly an autobiography, but it's interesting. I do not recommend it to anyone, but I have benefited from it. This is not exactly an autobiography, but it's interesting. I do not recommend it to anyone, but I have benefited from it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick H

    Wonderfully rich and well-realized account of not only business strategy, but personal philosophy about how massive-scale factory work can help humanity as a whole. Ayn Rand eat your heart out. Narrator does well. [LIBRARY AUDIOBOOK] Note: I’m choosing to forget about the incredibly disturbing few pages near the end of the book, in which Ford turns to a certain, particularly misguided personal belief.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kannan Ekanath

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Henry Ford has an undying passion, urge to simplify things and is obsessed with quality, minimalism and ethics, the kind of qualities you look for in a role model. In this super-cool business management book Ford explains how he made commercial motor cars at large scale possible, the humongous challenges he faced and a variety of morons he had to deal with. Ford's take on ideas are amusing. It is the hallmark of an intelligent man when he says "giv This is one of the best books I have ever read. Henry Ford has an undying passion, urge to simplify things and is obsessed with quality, minimalism and ethics, the kind of qualities you look for in a role model. In this super-cool business management book Ford explains how he made commercial motor cars at large scale possible, the humongous challenges he faced and a variety of morons he had to deal with. Ford's take on ideas are amusing. It is the hallmark of an intelligent man when he says "given a good idea to start with, it is better to concentrate on perfecting it than to hunt around for a new idea. One idea at a time is about as much as any one can handle" I truly and clearly believe that all men are not equal although there are economic/social policies that advocate the opposite. That we have seen these policies failing in various countries is a different debate however there is a passage which states "There can be no greater absurdity and no greater disservice to humanity in general than to insist that all men are equal. Most certainly all men are not equal, and any democratic conception which strives to make men equal is only an effort to block progress. Men cannot be of equal service. The men of larger ability are less numerous than the men of smaller ability; it is possible for a mass of the smaller men to pull the larger ones down—but in so doing they pull themselves down. It is the larger men who give the leadership to the community and enable the smaller men to live with less effort." When Ford entered the Motor Car market most cars were bespoke, made to order like a tailored suit. Needless to say this meant huge costs to the customers, lack of post-sales service and poor customer engagement and satisfaction levels. Ford had a vision and he attacked the motor car market with ferocious passion, by optimising the manufacturing workflow of a motor car, eliminating waste, mastering production processes to bring the cost down to an absolute bare minimum. So cheap that every single common man of America could afford it. It would not be an exaggeration if we say one of the most important factors in America's rise to super power is the transport links and Ford and his motor cars are important elements of this transition. And so he says "Making "to order" instead of making in volume is, I suppose, a habit, a tradition, that has descended from the old handicraft days. Ask a hundred people how they want a particular article made. About eighty will not know; they will leave it to you. Fifteen will think that they must say something, while five will really have preferences and reasons. The ninety-five, made up of those who do not know and admit it and the fifteen who do not know but do not admit it, constitute the real market for any product. The five who want something special may or may not be able to pay the price for special work. If they have the price, they can get the work, but they constitute a special and limited market. Of the ninety-five perhaps ten or fifteen will pay a price for quality. Of those remaining, a number will buy solely on price and without regard to quality. Their numbers are thinning with each day." Throughout the book Ford tackles many topics including addressing disability at the workplace, pay conditions, handling employee unions, placing product and service ahead of profits and economy. It is amazing how all of these are still applicable in the 21st century and how our voracious devouring capitalists need to learn a lot from him. Having also read Steve Jobs biography I can't help but compare that these two man have similar traits, predisposition towards quality and undying passion in what they were working on. Oh... this book is free of cost so you now have no excuses :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

    I've been working at Ford for one year. I am glad to join this great company, so as to drive me to read the book: My life and work, Henry Ford. I am very impressed by his profound viewpoints on how to make things cheaply in Chapter 5, some of which are useful and predictive nowadays. First of all, I will detail his smart replies to two questions. One was if in the mass-production manufacturing fewer men were used, how were they going to find jobs and live. Think about this question was raised by 1 I've been working at Ford for one year. I am glad to join this great company, so as to drive me to read the book: My life and work, Henry Ford. I am very impressed by his profound viewpoints on how to make things cheaply in Chapter 5, some of which are useful and predictive nowadays. First of all, I will detail his smart replies to two questions. One was if in the mass-production manufacturing fewer men were used, how were they going to find jobs and live. Think about this question was raised by 100 years ago! Does it sound familiar to all of us too? Mr. Ford answered: new industrials required more new skilled men, by using several examples such as stage-coach drivers vs. railways, taxicab vs. horse-cab drivers, shoe machinery vs. shoe men by hand. Also, he said it was not a serious problem since the whole industries did not change overnight, but came gradually. My personal idea was a little different: nowadays new technologies come so fast that we individuals must have a sense of self-learning and improvement to find our own positions. The other question was how to profit? Mr. Ford believed we should always develop and use new methods to produce the profit. On the one hand, we lower the price without hurting the quality and the reduced price enforced us to learn improved and less wasteful methods of production. I really want to cite his words on business"Don't cheapen the product; don't cheapen the wage; don't overcharge the public. Put brains into the method, and more brains, and still more brains -do things better than every before and by this means all parties to business are served and benefited." Besides what mentioned above, Mr. Ford also shared us with his philosophy on savings. First, he thought speculation will kill any manufacturers, and he emphasized only get the best price for the quantity that we need. Second, reduction of price is the priority: reduce the price to a point that would result in more sales and used this new lowered price to enforce lower costs. Third, he believed high wages contributed to the low costs because a man was able to focus on the job itself without extra worries. Also, he mentioned the importance of interchangeable parts, utilization of scrap, localization of assembly plants and components, self-generation of necessary materials like power and iron. Furthermore, he stressed that consumer went first, then design and lastly arrived at manufacturing with standardization. These great thoughts are still "shinny" even nowadays. Move forward, Ford!

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