Friday, November 21, 2014

My Life and Work by Henry Ford

“Good will is one of the few really important assets of life. A determined man can win almost anything that he goes after, but unless, in his getting, he gains good will he has not profited much.”

My Life and Work takes us inside the mind of a person who managed to change the world, yet who lived in relative obscurity for the first 40 years of his life. This was a long time to develop skills, both personal and mechanical, that laid the foundation for a massive enterprise.

The vision
Described by his mother as a born mechanic, the greatest moment in Ford’s childhood was seeing a road engine, a steam vehicle used to haul farm machinery. It was the first vehicle he had seen not pulled by horses. Always tinkering, by age 15 he could fix almost any watch and seriously considered becoming a watch manufacturer. But the idea of the “horseless carriage” was too great and, without the support of his father, Ford began to build one in the workshop he had constructed on the family farm. 

At 17 he began work as an apprentice machinist, qualifying before time, and rose through the ranks. In his spare time he worked on a gasoline engine and dreamed of building a “universal car” that could transport people cheaply and reliably. 

In his twenties he was inspired by a brief meeting with the inventor Thomas Edison; despite virtually everyone at the time saying that electricity was the future, Edison told him to stick at his engine.

In a nutshell
Continually refine your thinking power. Imagine something the world would really need. Make it cheaply as possible and sell it at the lowest price.

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