In 1999, Carlos Ghosn ( Rhyming with Phone) was among the leaders at Renault. He had a well established reputation of an achiever, having worked in Michelin as well as Renault. At that time, Nissan was struggling to stay afloat. Nissan and Renault came into an alliance in which Renault took a 44 % stake in Nissan, and Carlos was marshalled off to Japan to change Nissan’s fortunes. He took over as COO and later the CEO of Nissan.That explains the context of title of the book.
Born in an Brazillian family of Lebenese descent, Ghosn was a brilliant student and received his advanced education in France. This book is co-authored with Phillipe Ries and was originally written in French. Under Ghosn’s leadership, there has been a stark change in Nissan’s fortunes. So much so that Renault called him back to lead Renualt as CEO, while holding charge as CEO of Nissan. Today he is a widely respected name in business transformation.
When there is talk of a business transformation of this scale, comparisons with GE’s former CEO Jack Welch are inevitable. ‘Neutron Jack’s’ bestseller Straight from the Gut for years hasbeen read by anyone who reads business excellence. Both Jack and ‘Le Cost Killer’ Ghosn appear very logic driven and straight, though by his writing style, Ghosn appears more sophisticated.
You may even ask the question, what is new in this book? Same old recipe of cultural sensitivity, growth in market share, product innovation, cost -cutting etc! Don’t be fooled by the simplicity with which it appears in the book. It is Ghosn’s writing style to stay away from hyperbole.
This book also shows the deftness with which Ghosn handles the cultural issues ( Not just the western style vs Japanese style but the difference in the companies as well). Perhaps it has to do with his exposure to different cultures at an early age.
Like all great business leaders, Ghosn appears transparent and wants to keep his communication simple to understand. The 180 strategy is a manifestation of this simplicity.
From readability point of view, it holds your attention without becoming too taxing. And perhaps this book is translated from French, personal touch seems to be missing at points. But if a book has been written by a business leader as tall as Ghosn, you cannot miss the point.
Read it , when you can.