Book Cover - Book Review: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

When theory and practice are indistinguishable from each other. Brilliant.

What to say about The Goal that has not already been said. The Goal is a unique book of its kind. I have seen it quoted in so many books that for as long I can remember, it has always been waiting on my reading list … for almost ten years. I was not inspired by the book cover even if the content is probably the best example of a nonfiction novel.

To be honest, I’m glad not all fiction books use this style. But I have to admit this writing style is incredibly effective as a learning tool. This method, known as the Socratic Method, uses dialogues between individuals, asking and answering questions that stimulate critical thinking. We learn about solutions after being confronted with the problems. Since learning is basically an association process, this way of teaching is particularly relevant to convey subtle ideas that may challenge our common sense. The book is the perfect example of what learning from experience means. It turns stories into learning opportunities, and since we, humans, are creatures of stories, we love to learn in this way. In addition, the novel format allows for repetitions of key insights, each time reformulated differently, and in a different context to make their application crystal clear.

Moreover, I should outline The Goal is one of the rare books that succeeded in keeping me awake when commuting. I read a large portion of this book after waiting for my delayed train for two long hours. I was cold, I just wanted to go home, and under such circumstances, I usually stop after a few pages. But not that night. The Goal had totally captivated my attention.

But The Goal is not new, neither are its ideas. So should you read this book several decades after its original publication? Definitely yes! Not because it’s a classic, but because it’s so different from other books. I don’t think it’s the best management book (it’s mainly about manufacturing), and I don’t think you will learn a lot (the process of on-going improvement is the goal of any company nowadays), but I’m sure you will remember it for a long time.

About the author

Julien Sobczak works as a software developer for Scaleway, a French cloud provider. He is a passionate reader who likes to see the world differently, to better understand the extent of his ignorance. His main areas of interest are productivity (doing less and better), human potential, and everything that contributes in being a better person (and a better developer).

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