How many current or former auto executives have the experience, talent, charisma — much less the cojones — to write an entertaining, informative book about one’s bosses and inspirational leaders? There’s only one and, you’re right, it’s Bob Lutz. Okay, so he’s an octogenarian – but he is not over the hill – far from it. He is sharper, clearer and more focused than some of today’s wannabe CEOs and COOs.
Lutz’s multi-decade experience covers the best of times and worst of times in the contemporary auto history from the sixties through GM’s 2009 bankruptcy. Along the way he made history and rewrote some, made some good decisions, some not-so-good, had c-suite executive positions with major auto brands in Europe and America – and at every milestone along the way in an enviable career he’s worked for and been inspired by some very unique leaders and characters.
Icons and Idiots, his just published review of the eleven leaders and inspirational forces that shaped and molded his business career and life is an interesting read. I’d turned the pages in his previous book, Auto Guys and Bean Counters, but found it less readable because of the ‘here’s what went wrong and why” focus. The new work from the ultimate car guy is analogous to having a private conversation with him after a good dinner, some excellent wine and maybe a Cohiba.