cover image Shift: Inside Nissan's Historic Revival

Shift: Inside Nissan's Historic Revival

Carlos Ghosn. Crown Business, $25.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-385-51290-9

When French auto manufacturer Renault acquired Nissan, they sent Ghosn to engineer the failing company's turnaround, and in short order, interviews and pictures of him were everywhere. The story behind his success is familiar to any reader of business publications, but he gives it here again, along with an extensive recitation of the business strategy that put the failing company back in black. Those who haven't heard the continent-hopping tale of Ghosn's family will be fascinated by the first few chapters, in which he talks about his Lebanese grandfather, who went to Brazil to make his fortune, and reminisces about his own childhood in Brazil and Lebanon. Though some readers may yearn for more details about Ghosn's childhood and his days attending university in Paris, Ghosn is all business. Indeed, his background information seems to have been included largely to establish him as a creature of globalization. The bulk of the book follows his progress at Nissan in dry terms, with short, declarative sentences moving the story efficiently but mechanically. Ghosn sprinkles in occasional passages about his business philosophy, briefly analyzing why Nissan went downhill under the traditional Japanese system and expounding on the necessity of communication, dedication and never hesitating. Nissan's resurgence was doubtless a relief for its shareholders and employees (at least the ones who survived Ghosn's downsizing), but there isn't likely to be a large readership for what, by the end, feels less like a book and more like a company's annual report, complete with history, statistics and vision for the future.