Summary of American Turnaround

Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way to Do Business

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American Turnaround book summary
How a clear-minded executive returned General Motors to profitability.


7 Overall

6 Importance

6 Innovation

8 Style


Ed Whitacre, former CEO of AT&T and GM, teams up with writer Leslie Cauley on this entertaining, informative autobiography. Under Whitacre’s management, Southwestern Bell became AT&T, and GM traveled from bankruptcy to profitability within 16 months. Filled with anecdotes and asides, this is no ordinary business book. Pithy phrases defining his basic management principles pepper Whitacre’s self-effacing voice and his easy-to-read style as he outlines relevant lessons for managers. Whitacre insists that companies succeed more often due to employees’ energy and collaboration than to managers’ decisions. getAbstract recommends his stories and insights to all managers and those who want to manage. Everyone can learn from the man who saved GM.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What former AT&T and GM CEO Ed Whitacre learned growing up in Ennis, Texas;
  • How he managed to return bankrupt GM to profitability; and
  • How best you can utilize the basics of his management style.


The GM Mess
Ed Whitacre, the former CEO of AT&T, became general manager of General Motors (GM) in 2009 at the request of the White House. GM insiders believed that he shouldn’t worry about the company’s long descent to bankruptcy, halted only by a $50 billion government bailout. When...
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About the Authors

Ed Whitacre, former chairman and CEO of AT&T and General Motors, served on the boards of Exxon, Burlington Northern and Anheuser-Busch. Former Wall Street Journal staff member Leslie Cauley writes on telecommunications for USA Today.

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Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Lessons from the leaders who never gave up.

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