Icons and Idiots by Bob Lutz

Icons and Idiots

“Most successful leaders are mentally and emotionally askew. There’s a good side, which gets the job done. There’s often also a downside that makes them hard to understand or difficult to work for. It’s precisely that they are impatient, stubborn, opinionated, unsatisfied, and domineering that makes them successful.”   When Bob Lutz retired from General Motors in 2010, after an unparalleled forty-seven-year career in the auto industry,...

Details Icons and Idiots

TitleIcons and Idiots
Release DateJun 4th, 2013
PublisherPortfolio Hardcover
GenreBusiness, Nonfiction, Leadership

Reviews Icons and Idiots

  • Tie Kim
    This book would probably be disappointing to those familiar with Bob Lutz if he did not present his unabashed views of leaders he’s worked alongside during his distinguished career. As the book’s title suggests, Lutz, in fact does write with ineluctable intensity highlighting the traits of elected leaders he served under (e.g., Lee Iacocca, Phil Caldwell, Rick Wagoner) as well as their “fatuous foibles”. I thought there were passages wher...
  • Reid
    A personal (and vindictive) note: during the 90s, when the dot-com economy was going full-speed ahead, I was watching a show entitled "Meet the CEO." The show gave me an insight into how to spot an appalling corporate bastard. It featured two executives, one of whom was under forty, I'm sure. The official yet obsequious host then asked the CEOs: What disappoints you the most in employee performance? The younger of the two, whose company ships pro...
  • David
    I expected this book to be interesting but, like many other books about business and leadership, I was prepared for some pretty dry material. However, the writing style of Bob Lutz drew me in from the beginning and was hard to put down. Because I spent over 30 years in the auto industry and have met Mr. Lutz on a few occasions, I think his way of describing good and bad leadership qualities using real people he knew and often had worked for while...
  • Josh
    Wasn't what I expected. Heard a fascinating interview with Lutz on the future of automobiles in America. I thought it was going to be about that subject. After the first chapter or two, I though it was going to be a book about leadership. But really, this book is basically dishing on every authority who's ever been over him, and then at the end of the chapter, saying a couple nice things about a person he's been trashing. This seemed to especiall...
  • Richard Gombert
    If you want stories from the the executive suite thsi might be your book.This book is more "you wouldn't believe the sh*t I had to put up with". Just a former exec complaining about the sh*tty colleagues he had to deal with over the years.I did not find much value.
  • Gregory P. Bova
    Luz is a pretty good writer but a good story teller. This is a good book but not a great one. He seems to find good in every leader but when he rates then at the end it seems like he was harsher with the rating than the write up. But its a good read I would recommend it.
  • Jason
    This book was kind of disappointing. I thought it was going to be more informative, but it appeared there were very few idiots in Bob's life. It was OK.
  • Rajith Rohan
    An interesting view point on the glory days of the auto industry - not much of a book on leadership, however.
  • Jay
    Lutz's take on many of his former managers, as well as his drill sergeant, a high school teacher, other auto company executives, and himself. He does this mostly through anecdotes, mostly personal anecdotes, about the leader being examined. He stakes his claim as a car guy, and predictably, the auto industry leaders from that other pack, the bean counters, are held up to quite a bit of ridicule. Note that he does tend to pull his punches, but usu...
  • Chris Haak
    This was the second book that I read by Bob Lutz, former auto industry executive (and I believe his third book overall). It was a series of profiles about the executives he worked under during his long career in the auto industry. Despite the title, there isn't much content on the "idiot" side of the ledger; Lutz seems to pull his punches with almost every executive that he profiles and finds the good in every person despite their managerial idio...
  • Andrew Mutch
    If you're looking for deep insights on leadership, you won't find it here. But it is an entertaining read on some of the history of the US and foreign auto companies and the men who led them ending with a short summary of Lutz's views on leadership. While Lutz dishes dirt on some of these icons on the auto industry, you almost got the feeling that Lutz held back a bit despite the "straight talk" tagline. Even so, there's likely to be some eye ope...
  • Boone
    Bob Lutz is a huge personality in the automotive world and rightly admired by many. He is the quintessential "car guy" who is outspoken in his belief that US carmakers need to make vehicles people actually desire and not just settle for because of incentives. I only wish the book wasn't so full of "I was right and he was wrong" stories. If it had been tempered with some "well, I totally got that wrong but here's what I learned from it....." it de...
  • Cindy
    Not quite what I was expecting but still pretty good. Lots of insight into this guy's career in the auto industry. There's more on the icon side and less of the idiots. He does discuss the foibles of some of his bosses (alcoholics and felons among them) and yet pulls his punches even then. I did like the descriptive term of 'malicious obedience' to describe doing the request to the letter, all the while knowing that it will not work/wasn't what w...
  • Neil Wigner
    I want to write "life changer", "best book of my professional life", but I hate those reviews. Except it's true. This gave me a perspective on business and life in general that I didn't have, in fact could not have without Bob's experience. Nope I don't know how to change the world, but I know that little matters at the end of the day other than doing your best and making the best of where you are, even if you are at (or close to) the "top".
  • MÉYO
    I loved Bob's first book, so when I saw him again on Autoline After Hours, I immediately picked up his sophomore effort. Again, this book is very funny and offers unique insight's into the leadership styles of the automotive CEO he has worked for. The title is a misnomer as he doesn't really highlight and criticize the "idiots" of the automotive industry; what a shame.
  • Christinek
    Icons and Idiots...almost didn't read this because I don't like the title, but being from Detroit the auto industry is always fascinating. It is wonderful, funny and interesting. Bob Lutz (former vice chairman of General Motors)is a nice man who gives an insiders look at the workings of the auto industry and its' leaders.
  • B Shelton
    Not really a "How To" book on leadership, Mr. Lutz does explore the pros and cons of each person he has worked for in his long career. In fact, he even provides a matrix rating of each boss described in the book. For anyone that has lived in the Motor City for more than a hot second, this is definately a must read.
  • Susan Chapman
    Only Bob Lutz could write such an insider's view of leadership in the auto industry. Often hilarious and surprisingly insightful, the book is slightly marred by his truly enormous ego. His criticisms of many in the industry ring true to this 30-year auto industry veteran.
  • Bob Witty
    An interesting look at leadership in the auto industry, and some humor to break up some of the more intense reading I've been doing. Especially like what the acronym IACCOCA stands for; I won't spoil it for those interested in the book.
  • Katherine
    Lutz writes an essay discussing the leadership style of the people he has worked for, beginning with a high school teacher. The book is very instructive, and you get a lot of inside information on the auto industry. It's easy to read each chapter on its own.
  • Roman
    Recorded gossip of an automotive industry executive. Entertaining, but not very thoughtful.
  • Rob Martz
    More like an autobiography than a management critique, but a fun read. Bob Lutz seems like he is job hunting in every chapter.
  • Alt2ning
    Easy to read. Anecdotes open great windows into the leaders profiled. Insightful, but conclusions remain somewhat amorphous.
  • Joseph Duarte
    Entertaining read and great examples of leadership styles.
  • Chad
    The only thing it has against it is that it isn't 'Car Guys'.I'd loved to have heard some more about other executives (Roger Smith), for example.
  • Sanjay
    It was interesting in the beginning but after few pages it turned repetitive and i me myself.