I learnt about the book “Le Bal des Ambitions” in 2009, when a former colleague mentioned it and asked me to buy it in one of my trips to Paris. By then, I did not know French so as to read it, but some months ago I found it again in the aerospace boutique in Blagnac and grabbed it.
The book is written by two journalists, Véronique Guillermard and Yann le Galès, that in my opinion give an image history of EADS and the main characters who shaped it a bit too much thriller-like. Nevertheless, I found it interesting as I could recall many of the names and chapters, even though most of the stories happened either when I was still a student or had recently joined the company.
Some of the topics covered in the book:
- Who are the so-called Lagardère boys, the relationships among them and with J.L. Lagardère. (I got to know who from some of top managers came from Matra and who from Aérospatiale.
- It describes the merger discussions between Aérospatiale–Matra, BAE and DASA.
- You get a glimpse of the role played by the grandes écoles in French networks.
- The case of insider trading affecting top management of EADS in 2006.
- Some of the issues behind the delays of A380 in 2006.
I guess that for a French native the text hasn’t got much quality, but for me, being my second book in French language, it was just perfect.