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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Broken Alliances: Inside the Rise and Fall of a Global Automotive Empire by Carlos Ghosn and Philippe Riès is a fascinating insider’s look at one of the greatest business scandals of the new millennium. Like many others, when I read of Ghosn’s arrest in Japan, my first reaction was: “yes, another corrupt businessman has finally gotten his comeuppance. Well done, Japan.” This book will take you inside the mind of the main character, the charismatic and highly-regarded Ghosn as he struggles to come to terms with the injustices being heaped on him by the “Old Guard” at Nissan, the dictatorial Japanese prosecutors, and the unfair Japanese judicial system. Ghosn details the incredible and remarkable turnaround he and his team managed to achieve with their global alliance of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi Motors that saved the struggling automaker from almost certain bankruptcy and lifted it up to be the predominant player in the global auto industry. This story has all the hallmarks of political intrigue, backstabbing, staggering injustice, and petty jealousies that truly demonstrate the reality of the saying: “fact is stranger than fiction.” Ghosn also uses the opportunity to impart his views on global trade, successful management practices, and the path forward for the auto industry in the decades ahead.
Broken Alliances is an absolutely riveting tale of a man, once lauded as the “great savior”, viciously and maliciously cut down to size by a group of Japanese businessmen whose sole purpose, it seems, was to “re-Japanize” their beloved Nissan Motors. Because the book is co-written by the main protagonist, Carlos Ghosn, author Philippe Riès is able to bring readers the true inside scoop on what really went on in the boardrooms, the courts, and the political chambers of two countries during this earth-shattering event. What I particularly enjoyed, apart from the obvious recounting of the strange and vindictive Japanese judicial system, was the time Ghosn spent detailing the highly successful practices employed by the Alliance to turn Nissan Motors around. His clear, definitive style of leadership and his willingness to take the difficult decisions, after weighing up the opinions of all those involved, was plainly one of the main factors in the outstanding success of the Alliance. That Ghosn has been treated appallingly by Nissan, the company he saved; his parent company Renault; the Japanese judicial system; the governments of France and Japan is without question. Although the future story of Ghosn’s fight against injustice has yet to be written, readers will definitely come away with a new and more respectful perspective of Carlos Ghosn, the man and the businessman. If you love automobiles, political intrigue, and factual legal dramas you will absolutely adore this story. This is a book that all readers can enjoy, absorb, and relate to what is actually happening right now. I can highly recommend this read.