A very inspiring excerpt from the introduction to Henry Ford’s book “My Life and Work”.
The institution that we have erected (JHP: Ford Motor Company) is performing a service. That is the only reason I have for talking about it. The principles of that service are these:
- An absence of fear of the future and of veneration for the past. One who fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again. There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail. What is past is useful only as it suggests ways and means for progress.
- A disregard of competition. Whoever does a thing best ought to be the one to do it. It is criminal to try to get business away from another man—criminal because one is then trying to lower for personal gain the condition of one’s fellow man—to rule by force instead of by intelligence.
- The putting of service before profit. Without a profit, business cannot extend. There is nothing inherently wrong about making a profit. Well−conducted business enterprise cannot fail to return a profit, but profit must and inevitably will come as a reward for good service. It (profit) cannot be the basis—it must be the result of service.
- Manufacturing is not buying low and selling high. It is the process of buying materials fairly and, with the smallest possible addition of cost, transforming those materials into a consumable product and giving it to the consumer. Gambling, speculating, and sharp dealing, tend only to clog this progression.
How all of this arose, how it has worked out, and how it applies generally are the subjects of these chapters.
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The entire book describes how Henry Ford built his business, what the principles governed it. What Henry Ford points out many times: The basis of everything in our life is work. A few quotes:
“My Life and Work” by Henry Ford. This is a position that, in my opinion, belongs to the canon of “mandatory reading for business“.