Monday, June 01, 2009

My Life and Work

The more I read of the current economic slump and companies going bankrupt, the more relevant I find this book by Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motors. "My life and work" is a candid autobiography of a truly great individual. How he founded and shaped Ford Motors is something that he shares in this classic.

The book documents Ford's passion for machines and his constant endeavour to manufacture better vehicles to help serve the society. His story, like all truly great stories, is fascinating to read. From a mere concept at his family farm in Michigan, Ford Motors evolved and prospered into a global car manufacturing unit under the able guidance of Henry Ford. It was a classic case of passion meeting service!

Ford's writing style is simple and one that connects well with a wider audience. The book as a whole is a masterful account of how to set up your business and the ethics that help sustain it. How very true is the author when he says, "It is the function of business to produce for consumption and not for money or speculation." The words spoken some 86 years back were so prophetic. The current economic crisis is a simple case of greed and speculation. Ford rightly defines greed as a species of nearsightedness. The book is full of such pearls of wisdom.

The great man is very forthright about his take on things. He is not one who considers all men equal, "Most certainly all men are not equal and any democratic conception which strives to make men equal is only an effort to block progress." The importance of community services is stressed throughout his book, " Money comes naturally as the result of service. And it is absolutely necessary to have money. But we do not want to forget that the end of money is not ease but the opportunity to perform more service." He finds failure as an opportunity to begin again, "What is past is useful only as it suggests ways and means for progress."

I would strongly suggest this book to all those aspiring entrepreneurs. For the rest it's an inspiring piece of work.

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