For my final presentation tonight in my leadership class each of us were asked to select a leader who we admired and then to write a paper and do a presentation to the class. I had a short list of leaders but Henry Ford quickly rose to the top. So this entire semester as we were learning different leadership principles and qualities I had Ford in the back of my mind. I read his autobiography; “My Life & Work” and did a bunch of research online.
You might say part of my motivation in writing on Ford came from the fact they I owe my very existence to him (at least in part)! How you might ask? Well both of my parents families migrated to the Detroit area for work related to the auto industry! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the automobile industry. In fact I was born in the very same town Ford was born in some 117 years earlier than me in Dearborn Michigan.
There were a number of quotes that I enjoyed and here are my favorites;
“We get some of the best results from letting fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
“Power and machinery, money and goods, are useful only as they set us free to live.”
After sharing about his catalytic event at just 12 years old when Ford recalls seeing his first steam-engine powered vehicle and receiving his first watch;
“There is an immense amount to be learned simply by tinkering with things. It is not possible to learn from books how everything is made- and a real mechanic ought to know how nearly everything is made. Machines are to a mechanic what books are to a writer. He gets ideas from them, and if he has any brains he will apply those ideas.”
His thoughts on welfare and free market capitalism, I couldn’t agree with him more;
“There is no reason why a man who is willing to work should not be able to work and to receive the full value of his work. There is equally no reason why a man who can but will not work should not receive the full value of his services to the community. He should most certainly be permitted to take away from the community an equivalent of what he contributes to it. If he contributes nothing he should take away nothing. He should have the freedom of starvation. We are not getting anywhere when we insist that every man ought to have more than he deserves to have-just because some do get more than they deserve to have.”