The Most Popular Guides to Goldratt’s The Goal

The_Goal_Words (2018_11)

The top Google results show nearly 30,000 words of analysis for Goldratt’s original 100,000 word introduction of ToC.

Re-reading Goldratt’s The Goal and writing a page-by-page review of the goal, summarized Chapter by Chapter (4,920 words), and focusing on the major concepts (1,088 words) led to looking around to read what others had written about the novel that first introduced The Theory of Constraints (“ToC”).

In all nearly 30,000 words have been written here alone – all in summarizing a book with just over 100,000 words itself.  The top summaries, by Google order are:

  1. Theory of Constraint Institute, “The Goal Summary & Book Review” (5,488 words)
  2. Management and Accounting Web, “Goldratt, E. M. and J. Cox. 1986. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. New York: North River Press.” (3,804 words)
  3. Nat Eliason, “The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt” (1,102 words)
  4. Re-read Saturday, “The Goal, A Process of Ongoing Improvement Summary” (1,575 words)
  5. Business Zeal – Chapter by Chapter Summary (4,478 words)
  6. Allen Cheng, PDF Summary of The Goal (5,994 words)

The ToC Institute (“TOCI”) starts at the top of the funnel for a new product, writing out who would benefit from reading the goal – going so far as to cite Jeff Bezos listing the book as mandatory for Amazon executives.  It’s great to see a consulting and governing body start by analyzing the addressable market for a book.  The TOCI summary concludes with a clear, concise graphic:


From ToC Institute.

Source: ToC Institute

ToCI’s final comments hit on some broad lessons that Alex learns and/or demonstrates over the course of The Goal:

  1. Measurements drive behavior. (Corporate’s focus on vanity metrics and Ralph Nakamura‘s obsession with data are common themes throughout the novel.)
  2. Seek answers.  Goldratt hits on this is a YouTube video where he says, “Whenever people are not doing the obvious – it is my job to find the missing piece of the puzzle.  Something is missing.  What is it?” 1:51:24)
  3. Teamwork. (This is an unstated requirement that exists for Rogo throughout his journey.)
  4. Never give up.  (Rogo hits on this as he thinks about his small town early in Chapter 2, and later when he commits to trying to fix UniCo, rather than flee.)
  5. Work smarter not harder.  As leaders, energy to create change is the constraint.  (“Frustration is energy without focus.”)
  6. Improve the overall system, not just parts.  (This goes along with, “Don’t re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.”)

TOCI’s analysis does exactly what you would expect from an organization that set out to carry on Goldratt’s legacy and create standards around ToC.  Their introduction to The Goal is clear, and their analysis adds context to the work from an operations and analytics standpoint.  As the six points above show, they do more than just summarize – they summarize and extend.

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