Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lee Iacocca

As 2008 drew to a close I completed reading Lee Iaccoca's most recent book -- "Where have all the leaders gone" which I family friend suggested I should read.

Overall I found that the book was two books in one -- a completed anti-President George W. Bush (GWB) bitch session coupled with Iaccoca's observations on a range of topics especially his philanthropic work now that he is retired. Ok, I got it Iaccoca - you do NOT consider GWB to be a "leader." While I am no fan of GWB on several policy issues I am not a fan of Iaccoca either given his inconsistencies/borderline hypocrisy in his world view as noted in this book.

Here is a prime example --

Iaccoca explains how his "Iaccoca Institute" at Lehigh University (his alma mater) brings students together from around the world for an intensive leadership training/multi-cultural experience at the college. From the description I read I was impressed with this project. However, later in the book Iaccoca throws a hissy fit that "we let the Germans buy Chrysler, the Germans................." By "Germans" of course he is referring Daimler Benz Corporation.

Iaccoca fails to explain why the "Germans" bother him so much -- perhaps World War II when his native Italy was an ally of Nazi Germany? I have no idea. Would Iaccoca have been equally upset if the "Japanese", "Koreans", or even those darn "Indians" (from India not the USA) had purchased his beloved Chrysler?

So much for the "open minded thinking" being taught at the Iaccoca Institute at Lehigh University.

Given Iaccoca's comments I just had to laugh this week when I read that Fiat (an Italian company) has now secured the rights to a 55% ownership stake of Iaccoca's Chrysler LLC. So will he be upset that "we let the Italians purchase Chrysler, the Italians..............." or will he be silent? I would definitely prefer silence since I fear he will publish yet another book.

Again - Iaccoca's philanthropic work at the Iaccoca Institute and on diabetes research is commendable and very necessary so I wish him well with these projects. But please did not offer the public yet another "grumpy old man tells the world what bothers him" book.


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