Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The Story of Two Unique Men, A Legendary Company, and a Remarkable Time in American History
Kategoria: Non fiction
Pelfrey's biography of the two founders of General Motors, Billy Durant and Alfred Sloan, evokes times when what was good for General Motors was good for America. Pelfrey, a journalist and author, makes the auto business in its early days sound like Silicon Valley: venture capital was plentiful and overnight fortunes flourished. Durant, a dynamic and colorful entrepreneur who made millions in buggy manufacturing before advancing to the newfangled automobile, has been largely forgotten. After dabbling in Wall Street and losing his fortune in speculation, Durant died in penury, supported by old GM partners while attempting to launch a bowling and fast food empire. Conversely, Sloan, the staid and reserved engineer who organized GM in the wake of Durant's enthusiasms, has won the ear of history. Though the attentive reader may suspect Pelfrey has sugarcoated history, his account of the nascent auto business is fascinating: Henry Ford, admired for streamlining and automating auto production, originally balked at manufacturing cars at all, and Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile all have surprising origins. Pelfrey's is an engrossing account of the fledgling days of the American auto industry; a bumpy, surprising and entertaining ride.
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One industry has had more impact on life in America than any other before or since. Here is the story of two men and one company at the start of it all.
You couldn't find two more different men. Billy Durant was the consummate salesman, a brilliant wheeler-dealer with grand plans, unflappable energy, and a fondness for the high life. Alfred Sloan was the intellectual, an expert in business strategy and management, master of all things organizational. Together, this odd couple built perhaps the most successful enterprise in U.S. history, General Motors, and with it an industry that has come to define modern life throughout the world. Their story is full of timeless lessons, cautionary tales, and inspiration for business leaders and history buffs alike.
Billy, Alfred, and General Motors is the tale not just of the two extraordinary men of its title but also of the formative decades of twentieth-century America, through two world wars and sea changes in business, industry, politics, and culture. The book includes vivid, warts-and-all portraits of the legends of the golden age of the automobile, from "Crazy" Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, and Charles Nash to the brilliant but uncredited David Dunbar Buick and Cadillac founder Henry Leland.
The impact of Durant and Sloan on their contemporaries and their industry is matched only by the powerful legacy of their improbable and incredible partnership. Characters, events, and context--all are brought skillfully and passionately to life in this meticulously researched and supremely readable book.
"This book is particularly timely, with the auto industry in a period of extreme turbulence that features a restructuring of General Motors, as well as other icons of times gone by. In a sense, we may be reliving in the 21st century the auto drama of the 20th century portrayed so well by Bill Pelfrey. The author's outstanding writing and research skills are evident throughout and make this one of the most important and fascinating books I've read in a very long time." -- David E. Cole, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research