If some one asks me how you found the book, I would simply say, "A book every businessperson should read and perhaps one of the best book I have ever read till today."
Mr. Lee Iacocca is one of the legends in automobile sector and as in individual. His father is an Italian and he is an American born. He rose to the top post in Ford Motors and then later collapsed from there to again regain by reviving Chrysler. He is known for his hard hitting style and the charisma he carries. He revived Chrysler from the point where every one else gave up on the company and bought it back to competitive zone. He is recognized as the person who has revolutionized the automobile industry.
Written below is the excerpt's from the book, which has either caught my attention or the argument I don't believe in or perhaps I have some thing to add on to the point:
The author makes a statement "One never really knows what happiness is unless he or she has something to compare it to" Just a statement but has a lot of depth in it. As a kid I was never aware about the word what getting bored but as I grew up, I learned is new words called bored, frustrated and irritated. I think the similar kind of emotion also erupted when I was a kid but I never realized and never looked those emotions from that angle. But now when I know what it means and now I know what is the opposite of what, I m realizing the value of the statement that one never really knows what happiness is unless he or she has something to compare it to or with.
The author makes a statement "Establishing priorities in life and using your time well aren't things you can pick up at the any Business School in the world" For me its totally different or perhaps FLAME School of Business is different in that terms, here I learned how to priorities things in life, I was never that much mature in approach towards life and now I look at problems from critical point of view. May be the difference in the world of author and India or in my case is, students doing MBA there are already worked in industry for at least few years and have a first hand knowledge to working condition and they have already realized what is important for them or nor. But in case of India where fresher like me do MBA who don't have any fair view about the industry and working condition and that's the reason they cant priorities things in life.
I think if some can pick up something from Business Schools is from their peers and this is the time one picks up different ways of thinking and learn to priorities.
The author makes a statement, "Styling and values are what sell cars, but quality is what keeps them sold" Here the author is assuming that the only characteristic that sells cars is quality. Styling and values are complimentary characteristics. I agree with the author on this front because I truly believe that quality is at the end, the most critical selling factor. It is not just the quality as a whole, it is the quality of the plastic, he quality of the paint job, the quality of the engine, the quality of the tyres ,etc that sells a car. A classic example of this is Honda Motors Ltd. The absolute number of Honda cars sold today, in a city like Mumbai is a testimony to the fact that quality matters. If Honda did not provide good quality cars, which people could keep for periods ranging five to ten years, they would not have been successful.
The author makes a statement "when the product is right, you don't have to be a good marketer." The assumption that the author is making in this case is that a good marketer is needed only for a product, which is not good or is inferior. I do not agree with the author on this front because I believe that however good the product is or however bad it is, you need a good marketing team, a good promotion mix to sell the product. To sell any product, the right marketing mix is required which is made up of product, price place and promotion. Now, even if the product and price is good, you need to have it at the right place that means you have to choose the distribution channels. The right kind of promotion needs to be done. For both of the above i.e. place and promotion, a highly experienced or a good marketer is needed. At the end of the day, marketing is nothing but transmission of information to the target group and selling the product to the target. Marketing starts as soon as you start people making aware about your product. This is when you need the right man on the right job at the right place!
The author makes a statement "if you screw up, don't give any excuses- go look at yourself in the mirror." The author is making an assumption that all people who make a mess of something try to give excuses for the same. I agree with the author on this front that after making a mistake, rather than making excuses, people should go and work on the mistakes and rectify them as soon as possible. I believe that people who make such excuses are cowards, who are just trying to defend themselves. They are lazy, who just believe in completing the job. Whereas I believe that it is more important to complete the job properly rather than just completing it. For example, if an entrepreneur has invoice his customer at a higher price than what he had quoted, he should rectify the same by not jus refunding the amount, but also by giving a discount or a small apology be it written or in kind.
The author makes a statement "Life isn't always going to be fair." There is no free lunch in today's world. Every individual has to work hard and attain what him or her dreams to achieve. Life has three different phases', "Childhood, Adult-hood and old-age in which one comes to know about the real facts of life. In childhood one goes across the basic facts and grabs from the surrounding, these are the values that he carries till the day he dies. An individual learns the hard facts of life during his adult-hood. One experiences the toughest day during this period. This is the period which makes him strong and confident enough to go about for anything in life and then comes the last stage when one actually thinks about his life and what has one actually taken in his lifetime. There are always going to be ups and downs in life, the one who has the capacity to fight against all the odds is a true fighter, a true learner.
The author makes a statement "If someone's bigger than you don't fight back." I completely disagree to this statement. I would say we should fight back because we have nothing to lose. This is actually the opportunity one shouldn't lose, because opportunities don't knock your door every time. For an entrepreneur, it is his risk taking capacity that ultimately results in profits for him. Take the example of so many big business houses, if they had followed this ideology they would have never reached to the level they have achieved today. Reliance group is one of the examples, if Dhirubhai Ambani or Mukesh Ambani had thought that there are so many big oil companies in the world and how he could compete with them, and then Reliance Petrochemicals would have never come into existence. Therefore, one needs to think big and be a fighter to survive in today's competitive world. However I would like to add that, fight back doesn't mean that if you are aware that you will fall back, and then also you fight that is not a very wise decision.
The author makes a statement "Formal learning can teach you a great deal, but many of the essential skills in life are the ones you have to develop on your own." I will definitely agree to this statement, formal learning is only essential to learn the basic aspects of life, however to sharpen those learning one needs to implement them in the practical aspects of life. Learning the theatrical way will not help one to solve real life situations because real life problem are not something that theatrical learning can teach. Formal learning can give you a structure to think but it cannot make ways to implement them. For that one need to have those skills, which one will acquire during his practical experience. Take the examples of Dhirubhai Ambani, that man was not even a graduate still he managed to make of the biggest companies of 21st century. This was purely due to his learning. A practical learner is more prone to succeed in life than a bookworm.
The author makes a statement "One should use head instead of fists." I would say use booth of them, use your head first and then your fists. I have realized in life one needs to use power physical and mental both to get ahead in life. The real life examples are the politician who uses all kinds of power to get ahead. And when situation demands one should not hesitate in using the physical power to out do his or her enemy. But yes there is one thing I would agree here is, even while one is using fists it should be a decision which head has taken not the agree or excitement.
The author makes a statement "The ability to concentrate and to use one's time well is everything if one needs or want to succeed in business-or almost anywhere else, for that matter." The old saying which has been repeated time and again through out the history. I totally agree with it but there something, which is slowly emerging as something very important. Using ones energy very efficiently, that means to priorities the work and using focused energy and optimum energy not less not more. Using time and energy is the modern fund of life. Because if one does not have energy to utilize time then what is the point of having extra time to do some thing. This point also covers the point of not over exerting ones energy and making sure using right amount of energy.
The author makes a statement "If you want to make good use of your time, you have got to know what is most important and then give it all you have got" I agree that it is very important to know which process in an event is the most important and bears a critical nature. Unless one is aware of the main process, in an event, it is very difficult to achieve the desired result. All the events are build up of many processes that are needed to be completed efficiently for an event to be completed successfully. Out of all these processes come processes or anyone process will bear a critical nature. It is very important to firstly find out that critical process. Once the process ins identified, then the onus is onto you to put your best efforts to complete that process successfully. For eg, you develop a product which has a good value for the customer. Now for the product to be greatly accepted in the market by the customers, the process of sales and marketing bears a critical nature. If you give your all in proving to the customer that the product has a great value, it is almost sure that a customer in the need of a product a yours will buy your product.
The author makes a statement "Whenever you are trying to promote a brand name, your first task is to make clear where the brand is available.- As everyone knows, there are only two ways to make more money: you can sell more goods or spend less on overhead." I completely agree with the topic. There are two types of customers in a market. One are those who pay any price for the product they desire to own or are in a dire need of. Second are those who will make a thorough market check to find out the products of a same type from different companies, compare their attributes including prices at which they are sold. So if your product is positioned in a market where the demand for a product is increasing which is leading to increase in sales of the product, which will keep your margins intact even in the case of low profits. On the other hand, if the product is positioned in a market or a segment where the customer performs a thorough market check for the best deal, the manufacturer of the product has to give the product at the best possible price in order to compete with its competitors to sell its product.
The author makes a statement "If everybody is suffering equally, you can move a mountain." This is a true statement and we can find many examples with respect to the Indian context to prove this statement. It can be easily understood by taking an example of a specific industry or a sector on the whole which is suffering from some sort of shortcoming due many factors like labor issues, government policies, etc.
Lets take the example of the sugar industry in India. Indian sugar companies have seen an increasing demand for their product in many of the western countries from the year 2000 onwards. This increase in demand was purely due to the cheap prices of the sugar from India compared to other sugar exporters like Brazil. Steep demand from these countries led to a rise in prices for the sugar. Eventually it was becoming increasingly difficult for a common man in India to afford to pay such high prices. It was at this common suffering of all the people in India, the government of India decided to ban the export of sugar. From this example it can be seen that, due the suffering of all the citizens, a mountain like the government of the largest democracy in the world was made to move in the direction desired by all.
At the end I would like to say, I have learnt immensely from this book, which is full of learning's from the start to the end. From authors personal life to how he thinks to how he does business everything is absolutely tremendous and value adding to life. One of the most important learning from the book is to "To think from other persons perspective." And the other line which I liked the most is "People are no good or bad, its just the circumstances which make them so"