Henry Ford Quotes from “American Icon” by Bryce G. Hoffman

American Icon by Bryce G. Hoffman

I got a chance to finish the book “American Icon” by Bryce G. Hoffman (Alan Mulally and the fight to save Ford Motor Company). It’s a compelling, fascinating read – not only for the drama of the story itself, but for Alan’s management practices which rely on collaboration, teamwork, transparency, and absolute honesty about the situation at hand. Get this book and read it as soon as possible.

One feature of the book is a pithy quote from Henry Ford before each chapter that supports the theme of the chapter. I have collected the quotes together below – some great business advice from a self-made titan of the 20th century (I’m also tweeting them one by one):

CHAPTER 1: The House that Henry Built
“Business men go down with their businesses because they like the old way so well they cannot bring themselves to change. One sees them all about – men who do not know that yesterday is past, and who woke up this morning with their last year’s ideas.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 2: Broken
“The internal ailments of business are the ones that require most attention” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 3: The Man on the White Horse
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 4: The Boldest Move Yet
“Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 5: The Revolution Begins
“We do not make changes for the sake of making them, but we never fail to make a change when once it is demonstrated that the new way is better than the old way.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 6: The Plan
“Progress is not made by pulling off a series of stunts. Each step has to be regulated. A man cannot expect to progress without thinking.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 7: Betting the Farm
“Borrowing for expansion is one thing; borrowing to make up for mismanagement and waste is quite another.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 8: Assembling the Team
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 9: The Best and Worst of Times
“It is failure that is easy. Success is always hard.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 10: Family Strife
“A business which exists to make one man or one family rich, and whose existence is of no moment when this is achieved, is not solidly founded.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 11: Watershed
“You’ve been fighting General Motors and the Wall Street crowd. Now you are in here, and we have given you a union shop and more than you got out of them. That puts you on our side, doesn’t it? We fight General Motors and Wall Street together, eh?” – Henry Ford to United Auto Workers leader Walter Reuther

CHAPTER 12: Selling It Like It Is
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 13: Ripe for the Picking
“A business which can bring itself to the point where it attracts the attention of money should be able to continue on its own feet without being financed.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 14: Storm Warning
“Every depression is a challenge to every manufacturer to put more brains into his business.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 15: The Sum of All Fears
“Bankers play far too great a part in the conduct of industry.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 16: Mr Mulally Goes to Washington
“When you get a whole country – as did ours – thinking that Washington is a sort of heaven and behind its clouds dwell omniscience and omnipotence, you are educating that country into a dependent state of mind which augers ill for the future.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 17: Breaking with Detroit
“Our help does not come from Washington, but from ourselves.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 18: By Their Own Bootstraps
“Then why flounder around waiting for good business? Get the costs down by better management. Get the prices down to the buying power.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 19: Turning the Corner
“Unless you have courage, a courage that keeps you going, always going, no matter what happens, there is no certainty of success.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 20: Proof Points
“Wealth is nothing more or less than a tool to do things with. It is like the fuel that runs the furnace or the belt that runs the wheel – only a means to an end.” – Henry Ford

CHAPTER 21: The Road Ahead
“The only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.” – Henry Ford