Terror of the Machine

Written by:
Henry Ford
Narrated by:
Michael Scott

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
August 2006
0 hours 29 minutes
In this autobiography, the American industrialist Henry Ford wrote, 'Repetitive labor... is a terrifying prospect to a certain kind of mind... but to other minds, perhaps I might say the majority of minds, repetitive operations hold no terrors.' Pushing the 'efficiency of movement' system of Frederick Winslow Taylor to its ultimate realization, Ford tirelessly toiled to reduce factory and assembly line work to its essential operations. This, in turn, reduced factory workers to automatons, seemingly nothing more than extensions of the machines for which they labored. Ford was not bothered by the prospect of reducing people to machines, since he firmly believed that it did not bother them and that they could do no better. But, paradoxically, and like all the great American industrialists, Ford feared the prospect that these 'mindless automatons' might get organized and demand their rights. So along with efficiency of movement came a system of indoctrination and punishment to insure that workers obeyed orders. In short, the industrialized west was built on the systematic oppression of its working people.
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Jeff Corino

This little chapter showcasing some of Ford's thought processes needs a context in order to comprehend more precisely the point of the writing. It reads like an orphaned section belonging to a greater whole. There are some interesting quotes and ideas that may still be relevant about the employer-employee relationship but in general the writing feels dated and disconnected. Certainly not worth $14 for 29 minutes.

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Janet G.

I was prepared not to like this book (its really more of an essay) but believe it is good to expose oneself to ideas that are challenging... He made some very good points and I was impressed with how committed he was to providing work for people of all abilities and the dignity that inheres in earning a wage rather than receiving charity.

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Nick Jones

Well worth the short investment in time. I was impressed with Henry Fords demand for safety, cleanliness and quality in the workplace. I know a few politicians that could benefit from Mr. Fords simple business practices.

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Edward Kittrell

This was extremely informative because it gives some of the same procedures of safety, personal performance, and equipment operation.

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zac demi

Great narrating and interesting subject. Definitely worth the time.

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Ian Martin

This is a fascinating piece. It's easy to listen to and gives an unexpected insight into a deep and profound mind. There is a lot more to Mr. Ford than I think almost anyone would expect. It's not just an excellent commentary on industrial efficiency but ethics and provides a picture that seems to have been lost in the shuffle concerning how business can be in harmony with a community rather than at odds with it. More people need to read this in our times. Thanks Thought Audio!

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