"Driving Honda: Inside the World's Most Innovative Car Company" by Jeffrey Rothfeder

Brian Gongol

American manufacturing is dead, or so a lot of people say. But it isn't -- the statistics make it clear that we're manufacturing more stuff than ever in this country, just with a lot fewer people than we used to. The companies that have survived and thrived aren't the ones following old, rigid patterns of sweaty laborers doing mind-numbing routine jobs on an assembly line. At their best, the successful manufacturers have become experts in high-value-added creative assembly. While Toyota has gotten a lot of the credit over the last 20 years or so for introducing innovative manufacturing practices to the world's attention, Rothfeder makes a compelling case that Honda is doing many of the same things right, but with even greater creativity (and thus, more durability for the company as a whole). "Driving Honda" is an engaging book, a very fast read, and a highly valuable look inside a company that has a tremendous amount to teach all kinds of businesses and organizations -- American or otherwise, inside or outside of manufacturing.

Verdict: An excellent business book, especially for people who wouldn't normally read business books.

Bonus: Notes on a 2014 radio interview with the author, plus a podcast of that interview (skip ahead to 2:52).