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The People's Tycoon

Henry Ford and the American Century
Narrated by: John H. Mayer
Length: 29 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Summary

How a Michigan farm boy became the richest man in America is a classic, almost mythic tale, but never before has Henry Ford’s outsized genius been brought to life so vividly as it is in this engaging and superbly researched biography. 

The real Henry Ford was a tangle of contradictions. He set off the consumer revolution by producing a car affordable to the masses, all the while lamenting the moral toll exacted by consumerism. He believed in giving his workers a living wage, though he was entirely opposed to union labor. He had a warm and loving relationship with his wife, but sired a son with another woman. A rabid anti-Semite, he nonetheless embraced African American workers in the era of Jim Crow. 

Uncovering the man behind the myth, situating his achievements and their attendant controversies firmly within the context of early 20th century America, Watts has given us a comprehensive, illuminating, and fascinating biography of one of America’s first mass-culture celebrities. 

©2006 Steven Watts (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic reviews

"The implicit claim of Watts's admirable book is almost inarguable that it's impossible to understand 20th-century America without knowing the story of Henry Ford." (The New York Times

“Steven Watts attempts the most integrated understanding to date of Ford’s enormous influence and varied appeal...The fascinating result may change the way Henry Ford is remembered.” (San Francisco Chronicle

"Ford has had many biographers...None, however, comes close to Steven Watts...He brilliantly reveals the nature of Ford's genius." (Chicago Tribune

What listeners say about The People's Tycoon

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An epic life

A brilliant account of one the greatest business minds ever, very gripping for would be entrepreneurs

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One man, one vision.

Love or hate him, this book is a revealing insight in to the man behind the Ford motor company and will show you what one man with a vision can do.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story about a complex character

Learnt so much I didn’t know about the man, such an interesting life. The good the bad and the ugly all laid out here.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 26-04-09

disappointing

Looked forward to this book (2 credits) but found myself skipping past parts as it got very repetitive. The author makes the same point again and again. Would have been better abridged!

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 06-04-13

50% Longer than it needed to be.

I was interested in learning about the man who perhaps more than any other was instrumental in creating modern America. While the book provides a detailed and linear history the story is ponderous, repetitive and lacks any real drama.

The book does an excellent job pointing out Henry Ford's many contradictions and makes no effort to whitewash the unflattering elements of his life (his anti-semitism in particular).

John H. Mayer, the narrator does an effective job or leading you through the story.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Margie- computerGrandma
  • 01-01-09

Great book!

Wonderful picture of Henry Ford! I loved every minute and did not want the book to end

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 21-04-09

Not the best Narrator for this book

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting however, the problem was with the narration. I think that John H. Mayer was perfect for "The Autobiography of Santa Clause" but not at all right for this book. I think they should have looked for another reader better suited to Non-Fiction.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GG
  • 07-05-13

long, boring and tedious

What would have made The People's Tycoon better?

An abridged version would have been be better. The book is very slow and very repetitive - you almost feel you are on a Model T assembly line.

Watts' characterization of Ford as 'folksy' is overdone (to death). This book could be half the length and lose nothing. Get this title if you have a lot of time on your hands, and enjoy repetition. A lot of it. Then more.

What do you think your next listen will be?

something else

Would you be willing to try another one of John H. Mayer’s performances?

yes

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karona Drummond
  • 11-05-20

Great Biography

Enjoyed the words of Henry Ford by the author. Written very well. I would recommend this to anyone.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rodney Sohngen
  • 01-06-19

Subjective and repetitive

As others have mentioned the author repeats or restates the same content for no apparent reason. I was also surprised how often the author gave his interpretation of events and the use of what seem liked hearsay as fact. I did enjoy the history of Ford overall but would probably steer clear of future works by this author.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bill
  • 02-04-19

Great story....needs better organization

interesting book and story. Author jumps around and does not finish one idea or thread before starting another idea.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Starboarder
  • 02-11-18

Excellent Presentation

Nothing in this narrative conflicted with the bedrock truths of Ford history. On occasion it provided additional insight into circumstances surrounding Henry Ford. Thank you Steven Watts!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Feeling Duped
  • 17-10-18

GREAT Book!

Mentoring a to businessman! As a Black man, I appreciate Ford's contribution to our growth.