The Goal book by Eliyahu Goldratt

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The path to publishing The Goal book was difficult.  In 1984 there The Goal book by Eliyahu Goldrattwere no business novels.  Eliyahu Goldratt or Eli would tell a story about publishers passing on his book because it was a business book and a “love story”, and they did not know what shelf to put it on. In the account I heard, he said it took talking to over 30 publishers before finding one that would take the risk.

He also explained that his co-author wanted to get paid a flat guaranteed fee for his work.  This turned out to be a great thing for Eliyahu Goldratt and a big missed opportunity for Jeff Cox.  The Goal is probably the most read business book of all time — in the world.  I say probably because it’s difficult to track worldwide sales.  And pirated copies of The Goal have been found in other languages around the world.  Eli also explained another phenomenon that occurs with The Goal – he said that most business books are purchased but only 1 in 4 are actually read.  With The Goal, for each one purchased it was passed to 4 different people to read.  There, of course, is no hard evidence of this.

The Goal publisher, North River Press, has indicated on the 30th anniversary edition (2014) that over 6 million copies have been sold.

The Goal book by Eliyahu Goldratt – 6 Million copies sold and counting!

Here’s some data compiled by www.politifact.com on bestselling business books.  The data in this table looks suspect since Rich Dad Poor Dad has estimated sales lower than the Nielsen data and the 7 Habits has as huge estimated sales range, but as I said this data is hard to acquire.The Goal book

Please note that I’ve added the data in red.

If The Goal has sold over 6 million copies up to 2014 and if many copies are passed to 4 other people and there are millions of pirated copies in China and other places, that certainly puts The Goal in the running for the most read business book of all time.  And if the Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Nielsen data is wrong, as I suspect, this also puts The Goal as the bestselling business book of all time per Nielsen data.

The Goal Book Manufacturing

So why is The Goal so popular?  I think because it seems that Eli spent time in your plant documenting what was happening.    Eli received many letters and emails stating something similar.  I get the same response from my 9 Challenges ebook where I apply the concepts in the The Goal to custom job shops and machine shops.

I think if you can explain a situation as well or even better than someone involved, it draws them in.  It’s nice to have someone understand what YOUR going through.

It is also an easy read.  In fact, it is hard to stop reading.

The Goal summary from publisher North River Press:

Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry—even to your bosses—but not to your competitors.

Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant—or it will be closed by corporate HQ, with hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a professor from student days—Jonah—to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done. The story of Alex’s fight to save his plant is more than compulsive reading. It contains a serious message for all managers in industry and explains the ideas, which underline the Theory of Constraints (TOC), developed by Eli Goldratt.

I really liked the boy scout hike that demonstrated the idea of a constraint with Herbie and the match game that demonstrated variability.  Very powerful concepts were delivered in an easy to understand way that was entertaining.

The Goal is used in more than 60 colleges to teach students about the importance of constraint management. Time Magazine listed the book as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books”.[2]

If you haven’t yet read The Goal book by Eliyahu Goldratt, it’s time to read it or re-read it!

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