The cover of The Goal

The Goal

A Process of Ongoing Improvement

by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

This is one of the best business books I’ve read. Granted: I haven’t read a whole lot of business books. But this one is very good nonetheless.

It’s unorthodox: it’s written as a novel. It follows Alex Rogo, a plant manager for a fictional manufacturing conglomerate. Alex’s plant is on the brink of shutting down, and his marriage is in shambles. Through a series of discoveries and experiments, Alex turns the plant around and saves his marriage.

The ideas in the book are an outline of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, which is an offshoot and response to Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Product System. If you don’t already know, I’m really into manufacturing processes; the mental technology created by Henry Ford and Taiichi Ohno have really neat applications in digital product creation. This book was a really neat way to learn about some of those tools and understand them in a real-world (hypothetical) context.

At the end of the book is a more traditional essay that walks through the history of the application of Lean Manufacturing at Hitachi, and discusses how important it is to not simply try to copy the success of other companies by copying their methodologies.