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4.5 out of 5 stars
125
4.5 out of 5 stars


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on 28 April 2017
I was recommended this book after reading the Phoenix Project. Both are very similar, but classics in terms of Process Improvements in the working environment. a must read!
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on 21 June 2017
brill
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on 30 May 2017
What could be a very dull topic made more entertaining by a " real life scenario". Not the worst book on manufacturing I have read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 November 2016
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement” by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox is an absolute classic book for anyone who is concerned with improving the performance of a manufacturing business or indeed with business improvement in general.

It was first published in 1984 this book introduced the world to the Theory of Constraints and explains how much of the focus on improvement is misguided at best and wrong at worst.

I first read "The Goal" in about 1990 when I was finance director of a manufacturing business. I bought it on the Saturday, finished on the Sunday and gave it my operations director on the Monday.

By 7:00 am the next day, we were in my office discussing how The Goal and the theory of constraints could be put to work in our business because he hadn't gone to bed until he'd finished it.

That’s how compelling the book is..

I think it was one of the first business novels and two stories are interlocked in our hero's life:

1. How he can save his struggling plant from closure because performance was so bad.
2. How he can save his crumbling marriage since his personal life was in crisis because he was pouring so much of himself into saving the business.

Both aspects of the story resonate and The Goal hooks it claws in deeper as you read it and recognise that the symptoms the plant is suffering, echo in your own workplace with high costs, backlogs and the frustration that things just don’t get better as fast as you think they should, despite the best efforts of your team.

The hero has help in the form of a mysterious, wise guru who teaches him the theory of constraints by forcing him to search for answers.

The essential idea is that business is a system, and just as the strength of a chain is determined by its weakest link, a system is constrained by one particular operation – the bottleneck.

The logic is that every system must have a bottleneck because otherwise, output would be infinite. "The Goal" is set in a manufacturing plant and this makes it easy to envisage the constraint more clearly than in a service based business but the ideas still apply.

The main message is that you must focus all your attention on the constraint. Doing anything else doesn't help the system to produce more.

The book is critical of how conventional accounting techniques have warped decision making by giving managers the wrong information. As I originally qualified as an accountant, I have mixed feelings about this. The criticisms are genuine but the solutions are effectively part of the long-standing tools of a management accountant in terms of incremental analysis, marginal costing and contribution per limiting factor. Sadly these common sense techniques were often not used because of the impact of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and absorption cost accounting.

I have no hesitation in giving "The Goal" five stars as an eye-opening, mind-expanding, must-read book which shows how management education can be built into a powerful story.

If you are involved in performance improvement, buy the book and keep an open mind as you read it. If you are not in manufacturing, you have some work to do to imagine how the theory of constraints fits into service businesses, distribution businesses and retail businesses.

But try because unless you have a business which makes money hand over fist, your business has a constraint and your fastest way to improve it, is to focus on that constraint.

There are other books by Eliyahu Goldratt and about the Theory of Constraints but I believe this is the place to start and build your foundations.

About my book reviews - My goal is to help you to find the best business advice. I aim to be a tough reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb the key messages. 5 stars means that I think that overall it has some vital messages in it.

Paul Simister, business coach.
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The use of a fictional story to bring to life a management theory is a neat one, but the characters and dialogue are all pretty basic at best, and often slow moving even cumbersome. It's more interesting to read than a textbook on management theory would be, but not as convenient a reference source nor as enjoyable as a good novel would be.

So you have to battle through some fairly creaky plotting and speaking as the main protagonist, Alex Rogo, tries to turn around a factory and rescue his marriage at the same time.

However, the theory of constraints which Goldratt lays out in the book should be rescued from its means of communication as it is an important one, widely applicable in business and has propelled the book to its multi-million selling status.
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on 21 November 2015
I arrived to this book reading the bibliography of "the phoenix project".
It has been an amazing mental trip and an extreme useful exercise.
Suggested reading 'it's not luck' which is the follow up of 'the goal'
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on 11 May 2017
An interesting read.
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on 6 July 1999
This book was recommended to me as part of my management degree at UMIST. It is a must for anybody with an interest in manufacturing and management. It deals with all sorts of manufacturing issues inventory / capacity / lean production etc but tells the tale in a novel based format that is exciting and meaningful. How many textbooks do you read, put down and then remember about 2% of ? This book ensures that you remember 90 % of the principles for years to come. An excellent management tool.
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on 5 March 2010
Everyone can spot a myriad of problems within any business and in too many cases people try tackling all of them. This amounts to a huge game of 'whack a rat', that circus game where plastic rodents appear out of holes and you bash them with a big rubber hammer to make them go away. Only each time you get rid of one rat, or problem, another appears from a different hole and before long there are loads of problems springing up all over the place. You end up running round in circles trying to fix a never ending growing list of problems. Sound familiar?

The Goal is a business novel set at a manufacturing plant. Don't let this put you off if you're in a business or department that doesn't manufacturing! The physical nature of the problems described in the book helps you to visualise the core message that Goldratt's putting across: The Theory of Constraints (TOC) in which any system can be viewed as a 'chain' and somewhere in that chain is a weak link that limits the throughput of the entire system. Using TOC to correctly identify the weak link, or 'constraint', is a vital first step to solving a multitude of problems. The book goes on to explain how to work with the constraint from a holistic perspective enabling you to focus your activities where they will have the highest possible beneficial impact on your business for the least amount of effort. In other words, TOC tells you which rat to whack!

I've now encountered a few people who've read this book and somehow come away with the impression that it's telling you to focus on local optima -this is certainly not the case. If, after reading the book, you have this view then I'd highly recommend reading The Logical Thinking Process by Dettmer.

TOC in itself is obvious - once you understand it. You'll wonder how you managed to get anything done in the past and recount countless unnecessary endeavours that you would have avoided had you known about TOC sooner.

Other highly recommended books include:

* Goldratt - It's Not Luck (sequel to The Goal)
* Goldratt - The Choice - the simple reasoning that underpins both TOC and also The Logical Thinking Process
* Dettmer - The Logical Thinking Process - one of the greatest works on TOC and TLTP in my opinion
* Various authors - Velocity - great explanation of how to make Lean and Six Sigma deliver results by focussing them with TOC
* Klarman - Release the Hostages - one of the few service orientated TOC books I've found

But before reading any of those, start with The Goal - it's a great introduction to TOC.
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The use of a fictional story to bring to life a management theory is a neat one, but the characters and dialogue are all pretty basic at best, and often slow moving even cumbersome. It's more interesting to read than a textbook on management theory would be, but not as convenient a reference source nor as enjoyable as a good novel would be.

So you have to battle through some fairly creaky plotting and speaking as the main protagonist, Alex Rogo, tries to turn around a factory and rescue his marriage at the same time.

However, the theory of constraints which Goldratt lays out in the book should be rescued from its means of communication as it is an important one, widely applicable in business and has propelled the book to its multi-million selling status.
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