Since its birth as a motorcycle company in 1949, Honda has steadily grown into one of the world’s largest automakers and engine manufacturers, as well as one of the most beloved, most profitable, and most consistently innovative multinational corporations. What drives the company that keeps creating and improving award-winning and bestselling models like the Civic, Accord, Odyssey, CR-V, and Pilot?
According to Jeffrey Rothfeder, what truly distinguishes Honda from its competitors, especially archrival Toyota, is a deep commitment to a set of unorthodox management tenets. The Honda Way, as insiders call it, is notable for decentralization over corporate control, simplicity over complexity, experimentation over Six Sigma–driven efficiency, and unyielding cynicism toward the status quo and whatever is assumed to be the truth. Those are just a few of the ideas that the company’s colorful founder Soichiro Honda embedded in the DNA of his start-up sixty-five years ago.
As the first journalist allowed behind Honda’s infamously private doors, Rothfeder interviewed dozens of executives, engineers, and frontline employees about Honda’s management practices and global strategy. He shows how the company developed and maintained its unmatched culture of innovation, resilience, and flexibility—and how it exported that culture to other countries that are strikingly different from Japan, establishing locally controlled operations in each region where it lays down roots.