Car Guys vs. Bean Counters – A Book Review

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By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

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Ever wondered what really happened with General Motors? Well, Car Guys vs. Bean Counters by Bob Lutz tells the story and it is a fascinating read. Lutz believed in doing business the old fashioned way – by producing high quality cars that people couldn’t wait to drive. Not just large toasters that plug into the wall and that no one, and I mean no one, wants to drive. And they are insanely expensive toasters to boot.

Mr. Lutz brought GM back from the dead. He re-crafted GM’s business model, kicked butt at the executive level and laid down the law at the worker level. In other words, he’s one heck of a businessman. Never enamored with cars much, I will never look at them quite the same way again after reading Lutz’s book. Now I view them more as a product of love and works of art. During his ‘fixing’ of the GM problems, he lays out step by step what he did and how he approached the knotty problems facing him there.

Lutz has a gift for humor and the book is laden throughout with anecdotes. This is a story that will warm your heart and keep your rapt attention on his story. The American auto industry is a love affair with America. It is not just sales. Actually, the story of American autos is a big part of American history. And Americans love their cars like nothing else.

This book is a wonderful read. As an accountant, I can tell you that while we know numbers and business, it is someone like Lutz who knows how to keep the heart of an industry beating. And if the media would stop attacking business and work with business, many of the things wrong today in the business world could be resolved. This book gives me hope that one day the American car and the American dream will be restored. I miss those days. One thing I know though – the quickest way to wreck a business is to turn loose a bunch of MBAs to manage it. They couldn’t find their carburetor with a flashlight and a map.

Car Guys vs. Bean Counters is a terrific book. Want to feel better about America again? Buy it, read it… It is in those such as Bob Lutz that we will find the cure for what ails America and entrepreneurs. It covers in detail “the battle for the soul of American business.”

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