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My Years with General Motors

Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

Retail Price: $21.95
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Format: Paperback, 496pp.
ISBN: 9780385042352
Publisher: Currency
Pub. Date: Reissue edition October 1, 1990

Average Customer Review:
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Item No: 9780385042352

Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Only a handful of business books have reached the status of a classic, having withstood the test of overthirty years' time. Bill Gates has said that Sloan's 1964 management tome, My Years with General Motors, "is probably the best book to read if you want to read only one book about business." Business Week has named it the number one choice for its "bookshelf of indespensable reading".

My Years with General Motors became an instant bestseller when it was first published in 1963. It has since been used as a manual for managers, offering personal glimpses into the practice of the "discipline of management" by the man who perfected it. This is the story no other businessman could tell - a distillation of half a century of initmate leadership experience with a giant industry and an inside look at dramatic events and creative business management.

When Alfred P Sloan, Jr,. joined General Motors in 1918, the company was in crisis and its future in doubt. Today G.M. is among the largest industrial complexes in the world and a keystone of the American economy. My Years with General Motors describes the early innovations and development if the company's basic management policies and strategic concepts in such areas as planning and strategy, stabilization, financial growth, and leadership. Draft your own blueprint for organizational success by using the tools found in this book. Learn the valuable lessons that only Sloan could teach.

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About the Author

Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr was born in New Haven, Connecticut, May 23, 1875, the first of five children of Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Sr., and Katherine Mead Sloan. His father, a machinist by training, was then a partner in a small company importing coffee and tea. In 1885 the family moved to Brooklyn, where it was particularly active in the Methodist Church. (Young Alfred's maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister.) Alfred, Jr., excelled as a student both in public schools and at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute where he completed the college-preparatory course. After some delay in being admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which considered him too young when he first applied), he matriculated in 1892 and took a degree in electrical engineering in three years as the youngest member of his graduating class.

Mr. Sloan began his working career as a draftsman in a small machine shop, the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company of Newark, New Jersey. At his urging, Hyatt was soon producing new antifriction bearings for automobiles. In 1898 he married Irene Jackson of Roxbury, Massachusetts. The next year, at age 24, he became the president of Hyatt, where he supervised all aspects of the company's business. Hyatt bearings became a standard in the automobile industry, and the company grew rapidly under his leadership. In 1916 the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company, together with a number of other manufacturers of automobile accessories, merged with the United Motors Corporation, of which Mr. Sloan became President. Two years later that company became part of the General Motors Corporation (itself established in 1908 as the General Motors Company), and Mr. Sloan was named Vice President in Charge of Accessories and a member of the Executive Committee.

He was elected President of General Motors in 1923, succeeding Pierre S. du Pont, who said of him on occasion: "The greater part of the successful development of the Corporation's operations and the building of a strong manufacturing and sales organization is due to Mr. Sloan. His election to the presidency is a natural and well-merited recognition of his untiring and able efforts and successful achievement." Mr. Sloan had developed by then his system of disciplined, professional management that provided for decentralized operations with coordinated centralized policy control. Applying it to General Motors, he set the Corporation on its course of industrial leadership. The next 23 years, with Mr. Sloan as Chief Executive Officer, were years of enormous expansion for the Corporation and of a steady increase in its share of the automobile market.

In 1937 Mr. Sloan was elected Chairman of the Board of General Motors. He continued as Chief Executive Officer until 1946. When he resigned from the chairmanship in 1956, the General Motors Board said of him: "The Board of Directors has acceded to Mr. Sloan's wish to retire as Chairman. He has served the Corporation long and magnificently. His analysis and grasp of the problems of corporate management, his great vision and rare good judgment, laid the solid foundation which has made possible the growth and progress of General Motors over the years." Mr. Sloan was then named Honorary Chairman of the Board, a title he retained until his death on February 17, 1966. For many years he had devoted the largest share of his time and energy to philanthropic activities, both as a private donor to many causes and organizations and through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which he established in 1934.

Table of Contents
Introduction by Peter Drucker

Part One
1The Great Opportunity - I
2The Great Opportunity - II
3Concept of the Organization
4Product Policy and it's Origins
5The "Copper-Cooled" Engine
7Co-ordination by Committee
8The Development of Financial Controls
9Transformation of the Automobile Market
10Policy Creation
11Financial Growth

Part Two
12Evolution of the Automobile
13The Annual Model Change
14The Technical Staffs
16Distribution and the Dealers
18The Corporation Overseas
19Nonautomotive: Diesel Electric Locomotives, Appliances, Aviation
20Contributions to National Defense
21Personnel and Labour Relations
22Incentive Compensation
23The Management: How it Works
24Change and Progress

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