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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Redneck MBA: Book Review My Years With General Motors By Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

The book My Years with General Motors by Alfred P. Sloan Jr. is highly recommended as the one business book every aspiring business student should read. Management guru Peter Drucker speaks of it several times throughout his writings. Bill Gates told Fortune, "My Years with General Motors is probably the best book to read if you want to read only one book about business."

This book is not really a "how to book". It is more a book about what Sloan and his contemporaries at General Motors did and why they did it. Sloan tells a little about the concept of centralized decentralization. This can be a hard to understand concept, but Sloan explains in detail how the concept came to be invented and why.

He also explains when and how General Motors moved away from decentralization and when and how they moved towards decentralization. Somehow, he makes it all make sense.

When General Motors first started out, the whole concept of a corporation that size was fairly new.

Sloan and the executives working with him literally wrote the book on how a corporation works. They did not coin the phrase "Social Responsibility" but they did help to invent the concept. National Cash Register was developing the concept at the same time.

I would not suggest that this be the only book you read on business. However, I agree with Gates that, if you could only read one business book, this would be a great choice. Sloan does not use complicated terms to explain the concepts. In fact, many of the terms used today were not invented yet when Sloan began writing this book. Sloan had to treat his readers as if they were unfamiliar with management concepts. This is because so few people were familiar with these concepts at the time.

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Our policy on book reviews is to give our my honest opinion of the book. From time to time, publishers will give us a copy of their book for free for the purpose of mour reading the book and writing a review. The publishers understand when they give us the book that we am under no obligation to write a positive review.

If you will look at all our reviews, you will see that there have been occasions when we have written a negative review after having been given a book.

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We purchased My Years with General Motors through Amazon.com, twice.  In fact, this is the only book David ever gave away that he was sorry he  had parted with.  We bought a new copy so that he could have it.

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