Where have all the Leaders Gone by Lee Iacocca
Created: Sat Mar 20 16:26:47 2010 | Last modified: Sat Mar 20 16:26:47 2010
Lee Iacocca is one of those rare individuals who have not only observed history being made at close quarters but also been part of it themselves. A remarkable businessman and an inspirational American corporate leader, he gives America a wake-up call in 2007 with this book: "Where Have All The Leaders Gone?" True to his style which made his earlier books Iacocca: An Autobiograhy and Lee Iacocca: Talking Straight bestsellers, he continues straight talking in this one as well. If anything, this book could be called "Talking Straight Updated for the 21st Century." Most of his views from his earlier books are carried forward here as well.
The book starts off with a rant against the current US Administration and the lack of leadership at the highest levels. He spares none, including George W. Bush and is particularly hard on Dick Cheney as well. Throughout the book, Iacocca keeps harping on the values which America needs to return to to restore its position of pride in the eyes of the world. He talks about a variety of issues, including healthcare, education, civil rights, free trade, the industrial decline (and particularly the automobile industry's fall) and the ways in which he wants leaders to respond to the crises in each of these areas. He has a set of leadership principles outlined in this book: the 9Cs, and uses this to evaluate all the front-runners for the 2008 Presidential Elections.
Unlike Talking Straight though, this book just lacks a certain something. I found it easy to read, but difficult to read continuously at a stretch. One can almost pick up any page at random and start picking up the thread. There are not too many interesting anecdotes in this book though (Iacocca's meeting with the Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro is an exception) and the editorial finish is missing. The humourous touch is also not as prominent as in his earlier books. However, he does present some ideas in this book, some of which might be considered radical. It just doesn't come across as complete as Talking Straight does and even a lot of quotes have been borrowed from the previous book. It ends with a call to all Americans to vote in the 2008 elections to elect real leaders, not just cowboy ones.
Overall this book is about where Iacocca thinks America is heading. You might or might not agree with his views, but you cannot deny his passion and love for the country. I would rate this 3/5, but only because of a lot of repetition carried over from his previous book.