Last night I watched a really fascinating PBS special on Henry Ford. I learned a lot about Henry Ford and how he basically modernized the way we travel today with the Model T, built Ford, and become one of the greatest entrepreneurs and American industrialists the world has ever seen.
An absorbing life story of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century, Henry Fordoffers an incisive look at the birth of the American auto industry with its long history of struggles between labor and management, and a thought-provoking reminder of how Ford’s automobile forever changed the way we work, where we live, and our ideas about individuality, freedom, and possibility.
This is what the description on the ‘American Experience’ special on the PBS website reads.
Somehow those words couldn’t ring more true. Imagine trying to get around nowadays without your car? Even if you are reading this and don’t own a car, I am sure you ride in cars all the time.
While a fascinating individual Henry Ford was far from perfect. For instance he distributed papers that were meant to spread his ideals about Antisemitism. As well he apparently bought land in Brazil to try to create a “Utopia.” He was quite brutal to his son. I guess a genius needs to be a bit eccentric to change the world though.
What I found most interesting about Ford was that he sounded a lot like Steve Jobs. Very smart and changing the world but difficult to work with and he would sometimes fire people for seemingly odd reasons. Steve Jobs was the same way, only he was working on changing the world through computers and Henry Ford changed it through making cars available to everyone.
A family member I was watching the American Experience PBS special actually said before I was going to, “He was the Steve Jobs of cars!” After the show ended I checked various Twitter hashtags and noticed that it seemed others were making the same comparisons.
Watching Henry Ford doc on PBS. The similarities between him & Steve Jobs are vast. Both revolutionized American life & were hard 2 wrk with
— Jeremy (@HelpOnTheWay23) January 30, 2013
Watching a special on Henry Ford on PBS, amazing the similarities between him and Steve Jobs. Very similar personalities.
— Ben LaRocco (@BenLaRocco) January 30, 2013
Really enjoying #americanexperience on Henry ford, an inspiring man. Like a Steve Jobs w/ a heart
— Jeremy Williams (@brotherjwill) January 30, 2013
Not surprisingly the American Experience team on Twitter weighed in on the discussion too and plugged next week’s on Silicon Valley episode.
To those of you comparing Henry Ford and Steve Jobs – check out next week’s #AmericanExperience episode on Silicon Valley.
— American Experience (@AmExperiencePBS) January 30, 2013
I highly recommend you catch the Henry Ford ‘American Experience’ special on your local PBS station next time it is on. If you would rather you can also watch it on your computer. (I prefer watching shows over-the-air with an Antenna since the quality is better.)
I learned a lot about Henry Ford and I write about cars for a living. In my opinion another great reason to support your PBS and the great programming they produce!