I just finished reading Henry Ford's autobiography, My Life and Work. Rather I just finished listening to it as an audio book. With a family and two businesses on two continents, my time for sitting down and reading has been severely reduced in recent years.
Here is the two-sentence summary. Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in 1903 with $28,000. Decades of tenacious innovation in manufacturing allowed his company to build millions of cars, push down the price and introduce higher wages and shorter work weeks.
As with almost any book (especially if they were written almost 100 years ago), there were a few slow parts. Yet mixed in were some amazing insights.
When he described the process of innovation on the factory floor, I nearly jumped out of my seat. He begins by stating that they kept no record of failed ideas or mistakes, as they didn't want to discourage men from trying new ideas. Continuing on, he berates experts who he believes are only good at telling people what can not be done. Then he says (writes) this beautiful line...
"I cannot discover that anyone knows enough about anything on this earth definitely to say what is and what is not possible. . . We get some of our best results from letting fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
Undeterred by failures and what the experts said was impossible, they accomplished the extraordinary. Henry Ford and his company were far from perfect, but he had a deep (and mostly positive) impact on his workers, their families and ultimately the nation. They world is in desperate needs of thousands (maybe millions) of more innovators who will not be deterred by failures on their path to accomplishing the unprecedented.