Book Review

Turnaround: how Carlos Ghosn rescued Nissan by David Magee

This is a tribute to Carlos Ghosn.

I read“turnaround” back in 2003. It was the first year of my bachelor’s in economics.Back then I only knew that Ghosn was a leader in adopting so many cultureshaving rescued four companies on four continents. This book was enlighteningand I highly recommend reading it at this time as Ghosn is facing the harshestturmoil in his life. He has been in a Japanese jail since November 2018 accusedof financial wrongdoing.

The Book

Carlos Ghosnsheds light on what he believes were the critical success factors for hisendeavor with Nissan: accountability and transparency.

It isstructured in two ways; the first way consists of a scientific andchronological text over more than 250 pages. The author describes the rise ofGhosn starting spring 2001. One would find data, numbers, and stories. Thoseoftentimes revolved around trust, execution, management, culture, andpartnership. The second way consists of a psycho-social analysis of Ghosn andhow he is different in comparison to other business leaders both in France andworldwide. The author was keen to analyze Ghosn’s personality and his behaviorsdescribing Ghosn as the man who makes a difference.

I recently readmore than 18 articles about Ghosn and his arrest. I also recalled having read thisbook about him (there are plenty others that you can find on; more than 15 in variouslanguages). Many call Ghosn the cost-killer and this is one of his manymanagement secrets. However what few know is that Ghosn is a daunting leader. Whenone understands how Ghosn behaves as a father, how he revived Nissan (back thennearly bankrupt), how he closed plants, how he broke the Keiretsu[1]relations, and how he pushed for innovation in the automotive industry – one wouldunderstand who we are talking about.

Carols Ghosnis a bold and audacious person who dares to defy taboos that permeate businessworldwide.


InRenaissance (another book of Ghosn), Carlos Ghosn said that he was the “firstguy to cause trouble whenever (he) found an opportunity”. Since the spring ofNissan in 2001, Ghosn demonstrated that he is a leader – unlike any otherleader. I am not writing to defend him against the recent accusations. I amwriting to honor this person’s achievements and how his success has beensustainable.

I sincerelyhope that Carlos Ghosn is managing his anger and proving his patience while injail. Traits he spoke about in this one minute WSJ interview. If you havemore than one minute watch Ghosn in a session with students atStanford University. No wonder he always wanted to be a teacher…

[1] Setof companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings

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