A Historical Perspective

When businesspeople talk about history, many discussions cite Henry Ford, the great U.S. automobile industrialist, who is credited for his ­statement, “History is bunk.” Many senior executives echo Ford’s remark in their strategic planning and decision-making circles as they proclaim the need to chart new courses of action, reminding their shareholders and organization teams that the world is changing and so must they. But if one takes the time to review his entire statement given in an interview published in the Chicago Tribune on May 25, 1916,1 his words demonstrate that we can understand nothing except through the application of the surrounding context. What he actually said was, “History is more or less ...

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