My Life in Steel

My Life in Steel

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"Fight for the folks at the bottom. Make a better Product. Introduce new products and always Listen to the wisdom of people who make things."

A tough childhood in a Western Pennsylvania coal town and a career that included both union and management experience gave Pittsburgh's Harold J. Ruttenberg his unique and humanistic perspective on the requirements for the enduring success of American industry. Time and again, Mr. Ruttenberg brought his unfailing ideas to ailing metal companies and he consistently led business after business to unprecedented success.

In his meticulously researched memoir, My Life in Steel, Mr. Ruttenberg distills a lifetime of work in the labor movement, brushing shoulders with the likes of Phillip Murray and John L. Lewis.He chronicles his move from unionist to industrialist in Pittsburgh's burgeoning steel industry. And he outlines the implementation of his ideas and ideals within the companies he managed.

In his youth, Ruttenberg learned about fighting by taking a correspondence course from legendary heavyweight Jim Corbett in a desperate attempt to battle anti-semitic school yard bullies. And from those same coal miners' sons, he first became aware that the very best production ideas were spawned by the workers themselves. Through his sixty-two year career, spanning the New Deal through the Clinton administration, he developed a vision for workers, labor organizations and management. His fundamentals were simple and few. Ruttenberg believed in improving production by listening to what the workers who actually made things had to say. Second, he believed it was imperative to provide the best possible work environment for production workers. And his third belief was that a company should always strive to make a betterproduct than the competition, and a lasting product line that offers something new every year.

My Life in Steel is more than a history; it is a guide for the future of American business. It tells how labor and management can come together and why it must happen.