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It's Not Luck is the sequel to Eliyahu Goldratt's great business novel, The Goal. After their success in The Goal, Alex and his team have all been promoted into the key positions in the faltering Diversified Businesses group in their conglomerate. The whole company is faltering, and great pressure is put on Alex and the team to turn their businesses around. The story emphasizes the Thinking Processes from The Goal, and the importance of using them in business and in personal life. The problems addressed are primarily ones of (1) tailoring the bundle of business product and service offerings for customers in ways that create profit margin advantages across the business (2) by building on benefits from adding value for customers in improved ways and (3) creating these advances in ways that competitors cannot easily duplicate. The examples include a printing business for packaging, a beauty salon products business, and providing a service and parts intensive product.
The book's main story is interesting, and will keep you turning the pages. If you only read this as a novel about the caring manager and parent as a hero, you will find this to be a five star book.
If you want the book to help you learn new methods, you will find it not too beneficial. The examples are developed at such a level of generality that you will probably learn little from them. I graded the book down two stars for this weakness. Most readers won't know any more about how to create advantaged business models at the end of the book than they did at the beginning, except that they are to remember to apply the lessons from The Goal to all of their businesses.
The concepts that the book suggests are all perfectly valid and helpful ones. The first notion is to think of your customer and yourself as one entity. How can the two entities be combined in order to create the most value for both? The second notion is to then think about combining your business with acquisitions or being acquired by others so that the new business model can be applied to all these enterprises. I hope you do learn how to develop these commendable ideas.
After you finish reading this book, I suggest that you think about all of the ways that current measurements in your business cause you to optimize the performance of parts of your enterprise rather than the whole business and that of your customers. If you can locate those flaws, you can then begin to change the measurements to become those that reward the correct enterprise-customer optimization goal. The rest of the benefits will tend to flow from making that change, even if you never become very good at using the Thinking Process described in this book. Self-interest can take you a long way.
Become truly symbiotic with your customers in ways that enhance vitality for all!
And don't be afraid to think about how to include employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the communities you serve in this consideration of optimization!
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on 21 November 2015
Interesting theory on how to solve constrains in your life and at work.
Will not provide you with 'out of the box' solution, but with tools and example, elegantly proposed to the reader in form of novel
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on 9 June 1999
If you've read "The Goal" by the same author, you must follow it by reading this book, its direct sequel. If you haven't, read "The Goal", then move straight onto "It's Not Luck". Heavier going than "The Goal", it makes just as much sense, and will blow your mind even more. Another MUST for anyone with any interest in management techniques.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 December 2015
I read "It's Not Luck" when it was first published in 1994 andread it several times since but I still think it's a disappointing book.

I loved "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt. It is an insightful business book which revealed simple and powerful ideas through a fast paced and engaging story. It brought the Theory of Constraints to the world and challenged some of the new ideas coming out to right the ills of 1980s/1990s accounting. "It's Not Luck" is a pale shadow of it's famous predecessor.

This book is writtenby Eli Goldratt and not Eli Goldratt and Jeff Cox who wrote The Goal together. While Goldratt is the genius who has developed the Theory of Constraints, Cox must have been the one who provided the compelling writing style which kept you turning page after page until the book was finished.

The story form is still there and it still focuses on the hero of The Goal, Alex Rogo who has since been promoted and has responsibility for three struggling businesses put up for sale by a group desperate to generate cash and strengthen their balance sheet.

Attention moves from operations to the market and why customers don't buy enough. To solve the problem, it introduces the Theory of Constraints thinking processes.

The strength of The Goal were the ideas and the imagery (e.g. Herbie and the other scouts walking through the forest) were crystal clear. Easy to understand and to remember. The Thinking Processes are more complicated. It's crying out for a text book style section which let's you go back and read up on the concept again if you don't understand before moving on. It's not in here and there isn't even an index if you want to check the meaning of strange, new terminology like an "evaporating cloud" or a "future reality tree".

The TOC Thinking Processes feel powerful - and I know some people swear by them - but the book doesn't give you enough guidance on how to apply the concepts and this adds to the frustration. Lisa Scheinkopf's book, "Think For A Change" which is based on the TOC Thinking Processes is excellent.

In "It's Not Luck", I thought the story gets in the way of the business lessons while in "The Goal", the story made the ideas seem even more important and relevant.

If you loved The Goal and you want to know more about the Theory Of Constraints and how the constraints can lie outside of your business, then "It's Not Luck" is worth a read, even if you may not be entirely satisfied by the time you reach the end. Read it and then go straight onto Lisa Scheinkopf's book, "Think For A Change".

If you have heard of the Theory Of Constraints and want to understand more, then start with "The Goal". Even if you don't have a manufacturing business, my advice is to start with that first book.

About my book reviews - 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. 3 stars is worthwhile.

Paul Simister, business coach
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on 4 April 1999
Following on from the Goal this is a book that will require revisiting numerous times and each time will reveal more and give deeper insight into management. 'It's Not Luck' performs the first accesible value / sales analysis showing marketeers how to asses their offerings in such away as to maximize potential returns. This is coupled with Goldratt's analysis technique 'Breaking the cloud'. Which is just as well because some of the analyses will lead to unorthodox solutions and the technique (which works) will help keep people enthusiastically on board. If you wish to stay ahead of the market uy this bk and tell NO-ONE else about it, this way it might not catch on.
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It's Not Luck is the sequel to Eliyahu Goldratt's great business novel, The Goal. After their success in The Goal, Alex and his team have all been promoted into the key positions in the faltering Diversified Businesses group in their conglomerate. The whole company is on the decline, and great pressure is put on Alex and the team to turn their businesses around.
The story emphasizes the Thinking Processes from The Goal, and the importance of using them in business and in personal life. The problems addressed are primarily ones of (1) tailoring the bundle of business product and service offerings for customers in ways that create profit margin advantages across the business (2) by building on benefits from adding value for customers in improved ways and (3) creating these advances in ways that competitors cannot easily duplicate. The examples include a printing business for packaging, a beauty salon products business, and providing a service and parts intensive product.
The book's main story is interesting, and will keep you turning the pages. If you only read this as a novel about the caring manager and parent as a hero, you will find this to be a five star book.
If you want the book to help you learn new methods, you will find it not too beneficial. The examples are developed at such a level of generality that you will probably learn little from them. I graded the book down two stars for this weakness. Most readers won't know any more about how to create advantaged business models at the end of the book than they did at the beginning, except that they are to remember to apply the lessons from The Goal to all of their businesses.
The concepts that the book suggests are all perfectly valid and helpful ones. The first notion is to think of your customer and yourself as one entity. How can the two entities be combined in order to create the most value for both? The second notion is to then think about combining your business with acquisitions or being acquired by others so that the new business model can be applied to all these enterprises. I hope you do learn how to develop these commendable ideas.
After you finish reading this book, I suggest that you think about all of the ways that current measurements in your business cause you to optimize the performance of parts of your enterprise rather than the whole business and that of your customers. If you can locate those flaws, you can then begin to change the measurements to become those that reward the correct enterprise-customer optimization goal. The rest of the benefits will tend to flow from making that change, even if you never become very good at using the Thinking Process described in this book. Self-interest can take you a long way.
Become truly symbiotic with your customers in ways that enhance vitality for all!
And don't be afraid to think about how to include employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the communities you serve in this consideration of optimization!
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on 9 March 2007
Goldratt has a style all of his own. I obtained many of his works and he puts his viewepoints into every day scenarios with dialogs like a docudrama tv movie. He is famous for 'theory of constraints' and his works are motivated by that thinking. As a planning strategist I know that business do not often succeed just because they are new ideas. Just imagine that a few years ago Google was the brainchild of 2 students. Today they employ 10,000 worldwide, such growth is not luck. It was a development of well thought out strategy,

it parallels Microsoft of the 70's & 80's. Their influence in the market has forced Microsoft and Yahoo to follow suit. Equally with Amazon, who would have thought that such a business model would change the way we buy books? Both scenarios started off with a fresh idea and they developed into complete e-commerce corporations. It gets you to examine why, not how.
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on 14 January 2010
The story is thin and serves only the purpose of transmitting the textmaterial, which is fine as it sure reads easier than a normal textbook. The disadvantage is that ideas tend to stay on the surface and the how-to do it exactly is not revealed.

But applying some of the common sense principles made me advance my business on the spot which made the time investment in reading it more than worthwhile.
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on 13 December 2013
Not yet had a chance to read it as I am so busy, but I expect it'l be just fine!
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on 4 March 2010
If you've read "The Goal" then you should read this sequel. It covers a lot of new ground and will likely provide a few 'Eureka' moments just like it's predecessor did.

Again, it focusses heavily on manufacturing but this is probably a good thing as a change in context might reduce the impact of the new thought processes the book introduces you to.

I'd certainly recommend this book and also Goldratt's "The Choice" and Dettmer's "The Logical Thinking Process".
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