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Download Driving Honda: Inside the World’s Most Innovative Car Company Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Driving Honda: Inside the World’s Most Innovative Car Company Audiobook, by Jeffrey Rothfeder Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeffrey Rothfeder Narrator: Mel Foster Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2014 ISBN: 9781480586765
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For decades there have been two iconic Japanese auto companies. One has been endlessly studied and written about. The other has been generally underappreciated and misunderstood. Until now.

Since its birth as a motorcycle company in 1949, Honda has steadily grown into the world’s fifth largest automaker and top engine manufacturer, as well as one of the most beloved, most profitable, and most consistently innovative multinational corporations. What drives the company that keeps creating and improving award-winning and bestselling models like the Civic, Accord, Odyssey, CR-V, and Pilot?

According to Jeffrey Rothfeder, what truly distinguishes Honda from its competitors, especially archrival Toyota, is a deep commitment to a set of unorthodox management tenets. The Honda Way, as insiders call it, is notable for decentralization over corporate control, simplicity over complexity, experimentation over Six Sigma-driven efficiency, and unyielding cynicism toward the status quo and whatever is assumed to be the truth. Honda believes in freely borrowing from the past as a bridge to “innovative discontinuity” in the present. And those are just a few of the ideas that the company’s colorful founder, Soichiro Honda, embedded in the DNA of his start-up sixty-five years ago.

As the first journalist allowed behind Honda’s infamously private doors, Rothfeder interviewed dozens of executives, engineers, and frontline employees about its management practices and global strategy. He shows how the company has developed and maintained its unmatched culture of innovation, resilience, and flexibility—and how it exported that culture to other countries that are strikingly different from Japan, establishing locally controlled operations in each region where it lays down roots.

For instance, Rothfeder reports on life at a Honda factory in the tiny town of Lincoln, Alabama, and what happened when American workers were trained to follow the Honda Way, as a self-sufficient outpost of the global company. Could they master Honda’s three core principles:

Embrace Paradox: Honda encourages respectful disagreement and debate between opposing viewpoints, on matters large and small. New ideas often emerge from conflict.

Real Place, Real Part, Real Knowledge: Honda teaches people to argue using facts, not assumptions. One must go to the factory floor, the showroom, the parking lot, the driver’s seat, or the truck bed—whatever it takes—to get the facts and make a decision that can be supported with data.

Respect Individualism: Honda often hires people with unusual backgrounds and independent streaks. It promotes those who question the status quo and who would probably struggle in organizations that focus on rigid rules and systems.

Rothfeder shows how the Alabama plant became a new model for manufacturing in America. It can turn out several different types of cars on any given day and up to 300,000 vehicles and engines a year. Its flexible model enables unparalleled responsiveness to market changes and recovery from mistakes.

As Soichiro Honda himself liked to say, “Success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents one percent of your work, which results only from the ninety-nine percent that is called failure.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Asserting that Honda is so successful because it ‘focuses on doing one thing well—making engines that last a long time’ and because it constantly ‘works to perfect this core skill,’ Rothfeder studies the company’s history, culture, and principles…Rothfeder’s inside look at research and development and details about engines, motors, and assembly lines make this book an engineering or manufacturing fanatic’s dream, but readers from all industries will enjoy this entertaining and informative work.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Mel Foster’s reading is lively, as listeners would expect of a story that’s largely about a man, Soichiro Honda, who started his career by rethinking the wheel. It’s upbeat as he discusses Honda’s part in communities and its assembly streamlining. By the end, though, Foster takes on a thoughtful tone as Rothfeder offers his opinions on how corporations can do things better. It’s an interesting profile, with an argument for the importance of manufacturing that leaves listeners plenty to ponder.”

    AudioFile

  • “The story of one of the most innovative companies in the world: the automobile manufacturer that makes some of the bestselling and longest-lasting cars on the road…A case study of the methods required to revive manufacturing industries.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, July 2014
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About the Author

Jeffrey Rothfeder is a veteran, award-winning journalist, and former editor-in-chief at International Business Times. He has written numerous critically acclaimed books, including McIlhenny’s Gold, Every Drop for Sale, and Privacy for Sale. He was previously national news editor at Bloomberg News; editor-in-chief at PC Magazine; executive editor at Time, Inc.; and an editor at Businessweek. He lives in Cortlandt Manor, New York.

About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”