The path to publishing The Goal book was difficult. In 1984 there were 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 have been found in other languages around the world. Eli also explained another phenomenon that occurs – 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 publisher, North River Press, has indicated on the 30th anniversary edition (2014) that over 6 million copies have been sold.
The Goal 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.
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 Summary and Review
There are 2 main Theory of Constraints concepts introduced in The Goal.
- Drum Buffer Rope – This is the Theory of Constraints approach to operations and scheduling. You can find a full, how to description of drum buffer rope <– here.
- Throughput Accounting – This is the Theory of Constraints approach to accounting and measures including T,I, and OE. You can find a full, how to description of Throughput Accounting <– here.
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 book summary:
“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.” From publisher North River Press
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”.
If you haven’t yet read The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, it’s time to read it or re-read it! But it you don’t have time, here’s a PDF book summary of The Goal. It’s a one page visual summary:
The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt summary PDF:
The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt is on Amazon Top Executives Book Club
In an interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo, Jon Fortt for CNBC reported:
This summer he (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo) spent time at Lab126, a Silicon Valley outpost about a mile from Apple headquarters where Amazon engineers hash out hardware designs. And he also hosted three all-day book clubs with Amazon’s top executives, capped by nice dinners at the end. Bezos said he used the books as frameworks for sketching out the future of the company.
Which books? Bezos was kind enough to share the titles.
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
- The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen
- The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
The Goal was originally published in 1984 but is still very relevant today. And, as you likely know, it take place in a machine shop. Many job shops and machine shops use The Goal as their Bible. The only problem is that most have no idea how to apply it to their unique shop.
Well, I have good news. If you own or manage a highly custom job shop or machine shop and want to apply what you read in The Goal to YOUR shop, you can do that with expert guidance very inexpensively. Just check out the Velocity Scheduling System (VSS) Coaching Program.
VSS is NOT software but a visual manual scheduling system developed specifically for highly custom job shops and machine shops which are typically low volume high mix environments where the constraint can move week to week or even day to day.
Who’s the expert that would guide you? Well that’s Dr Lisa Lang. She is one of the foremost Theory of Constraints experts who has worked with Dr Goldratt and specializes in applying Theory of Constraints to highly custom job shops and machine shops.
If you liked The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, you will also like:
The Quote by Brad Stillahn and Beau Ganas. It’s short novel that takes place in a custom job shop. The story covers the challenges of job shop quoting and pricing.
The authors are working on turning it into a full novel, but right now it’s a couple chapters you can download for free. I highly recommend it! Just put your email in and they send you a link to download the Job Shop Quoting eBook PDF.