Just a year and change since Mary Barra took the reigns from Dan Akerson, Bloomberg reporter Laura Colby has penned a book, “Road to Power,” recounting how the new CEO rose to the top.
Just 165 pages, the book looks to spell-out how Barra gradually rose through the ranks of GM, according to Forbes. Barra has spent her entire career at GM and first started out there in high-school through a work-study program.
Contrary to what some may believe – that Barra was installed to take the fall for the recall crisis – the book presents Barra’s rise as a case of hard-work, and sheer determination.
She also came at a time when the General was “actively seeking out female and minority candidates for advancement through the executive ranks”, according to the Forbes review. The company, driven then by possibly-forthcoming legislation, created programs to address the imbalance in its executive ranks, chiefly top positions held by white males.
The book says these programs helped Barra get noticed but ultimately it was her work-ethic and tenacity that landed her the job.
Ultimately, reviewer Jason Fogelson thought the author painted Barra too softly and that the “overwhelmingly positive portrayal of Barra leads to a somewhat less compelling book”.
As Fogelson notes, Barra’s new book is one in a long line of auto exec bio’s which include, “Iacocca: An Autobiography,” “Made in Korea: Chung Ju Yung and the Rise of Hyundai,” and “Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan.”
Like “Road to Power,” each of these books handles its protagonist in a very positive light.
“As a result, ‘Road to Power‘ sometimes feels like the product of GM’s public relations machine. The more compelling and exciting book remains to be written, perhaps long after Barra’s tenure as GM’s CEO has concluded,” noted the reviewer. We’ll have to pick up a copy for ourselves to see if that’s true.