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The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Review by Jordan
In the book The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, we follow Alex Rogo as he strives to improve his unprofitable plant as well as restore his relationship with his wife. Alex Rogo is the manager of a production plant of UniCo manufacturing. The current situation is dire, the plant is behind schedule on every order and is losing money. One morning, company executive Bill Peach arrives at the plant and warns Alex that he has three months to turn the plant around or otherwise they are shutting it down. Devastated, Alex calls up a distant acquaintance, Jonah, who is a physicist and continues to help Alex on his journey of improving his plant through telephone calls and short meetings.
This novel uses multiple examples to explain how to create a well organized plant that will increase throughput, decrease inventory, and decrease operational expense. These terms and many others like it will be explained in the book by Jonah. Some other terms include bottlenecks, non-bottlenecks, statistical fluctuations, and dependent events. Throughout the book, Alex and his team continue to try to fix problems according to Jonah’s guidelines and simple questions. Alex also pursues solving his problems with his wife, Julie. Julie complained about Alex working too much and never having enough time to spend with her and their kids. On the brink of a divorce, Alex decides to try to take more time off to spend time with Julie as well as promise to be there when he can. One great thing about this book is that at one point in the story, Alex uses a Boy Scout hiking trip to help him solve a problem at the plant. It’s such a simple event that explains a problem perfectly. One day he and his son, Dave, have a Boy Scout activity to attend. When no other parents show up, it is up to Alex to lead the troop’s 10 mile hike. As the boys start walking through the terrain, Alex notices that the space between the boys are getting further and further apart. This represented the statistical fluctuations and dependent events. The boys can only go as fast as the boy in front of them. This will be explained in much better detail in the book.
Alex is a competent man who understands that he really needs to put in the effort as well as trust his team. This book does an amazing job as demonstrating what it would be like to be in his situation. We also cannot forget that Alex is a normal man trying to live a normal life, as in the book there is a scene where he feels stressed out and it results in him going to a local pizza place. There, he orders a whole pizza, a pack of beers, and some other items and then proceeds to eat in his car. Now, I will admit, some parts of the book are a bit confusing, especially when the characters are talking to each other and using multiple business terms. However, once you get a good understanding of them, the dialogue becomes insightful.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about business management as well as have a cracking good read. This story is easy to follow, and the characters are well described and have unique personalities. It is truly one of the best novels I have ever read. Overall, it is a great book for anyone interested in learning about a process of ongoing improvement.