Over the weekend, I wanted to look up something in "The End of Detroit" but couldn't find my copy, so I went to my neighborhood Barnes & Noble and bought another.
In case you don't remember, the book was written by New York Times reporter Micheline Maynard and is subtitled "How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market."
The title and subtitle are a good, concise summary of the book, which looks at specific examples of people and products that changed the U.S. market. It also deals with challenges faced by the Big 3 and predicts they will continue to lose market share.
When it was published in 2003, the book received a number of favorable reviews, but was privately trashed by most Big 3 execs (and even some execs in the supplier community.) Some told me they thought it was typical Detroit bashing.
Others suggested Micki Maynard didn't get the whole story, or was fed a lot of propaganda when she spent months in Japan researching the book.
But business reporters who cover the auto industry knew there was more truth in the book than many Big 3 execs were willing to admit ... or maybe were even able to recognize.
I learned four things from this latest experience, well three if you don't count the frustration that comes from having loaned the book to someone and not remembering who.
1. Maynard updated the book. The copy I bought over the weekend was a softcover edition published last November.
2. The tweaks to the book and her predictions about what the industry will look like in 2010 are conservative and, if anything, may seem a little understated in light of General Motors current difficulties.
3. I bought the last copy at the corner bookstore.
All of which made me wonder.
Has everybody who wants to read the book already read it? Or are GM's problems generating a new interest in the book (even among Big 3 execs)?
After all, there hasn't been this much bad news coming out of Detroit in a quarter century. That was back when the economy and car sales were depressed by the second oil shock, Chrysler Corp. was circling the drain, Ford Motor Co. wasn't far behind and the Big 3 complained about Japan Inc., which was beginning to gobble their market share.
But the biggest question is: Who the heck did I loan that book to?
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at