BOOKS: The book that shook Digby Jones

BOOKS: The book that shook Digby Jones - 'In the 'shaking stakes' it was a close run between my chosen book and Burrough and Helyar's Barbarians at the Gate. The latter left a lasting impression about the power of the personality to frustrate the best-lai

by DIGBY JONES, Director General of the CBI
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

'In the 'shaking stakes' it was a close run between my chosen book and Burrough and Helyar's Barbarians at the Gate. The latter left a lasting impression about the power of the personality to frustrate the best-laid plans.

But Michael Edwardes' Back from the Brink is about people, not finance.

It is the story of how the state-owned, strike-ridden, poorly managed monolith British Leyland was saved and then pointed successfully in the direction of the private sector.

It is easy to forget just what a politically motivated mess Edwardes inherited in the late '70s and what a cultural change he forced through, the battles he fought and the guts he and his team repeatedly displayed.

This book fascinated me, inspired me and, 20 years after I first read it, I still find it worth a dip whenever others try to put 'people' into a different group from 'business'. Or when politicians, or their advisers, stray into areas where their different agendas not only have the capacity to frustrate and delay, but where their actions can cost us all a fortune. Mind you, looking at the Dome, is that a lesson they'll ever learn?'

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