My Life and Work cover

My Life and Work

Henry Ford

1. 00 Introduction - What Is The Idea?
2. 01 The Beginning
3. 02 What I Learned About Business
4. 03 Starting The Real Business
5. 04 The Secret Of Manufacturing And Serving
6. 05 Getting Into Production
7. 06 Machines And Men
8. 07 The Terror Of The Machine
9. 08 Wages
10. 09 Why Not Always Have Good Business?
11. 10 How Cheaply Can Things Be Made?
12. 11 Money And Goods
13. 12 Money - Master Or Servant?
14. 13 Why Be Poor?
15. 14 The Tractor And Power Farming
16. 15 Why Charity?
17. 16 The Railroads
18. 17 Things In General
19. 18 Democracy And Industry
20. 19 What We May Expect

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Henry Ford profiles the events that shaped his personal philosophy, and the challenges he overcame on the road to founding the Ford Motor Company. Throughout his memoir, he stresses the importance of tangible service and physical production over relative value as judged by profits and money. He measures the worth of a business or government by the service it provides to all, not the profits in dollars it accumulates. He also makes the point that only service can provide for human needs, as opposed to laws or rules which can only prohibit specific actions and do not provide for the necessaries of life. Ford applies his reasoning to the lending system, transportation industry, international trade and interactions between labor and management. For each, he proposes solutions that maximize service and provide goods at the lowest cost and highest quality. He analyzes from a purely material viewpoint, going as far as to argue that the need for a good feeling in work environments may reflect a character flaw or weakness. However, his unflinching focus on the ultimate material products and necessities of life provide clever insights in how he created an efficient and flexible system for providing reliable transportation for the average person.