opinions on "The Goal" by Goldratt

What do you think about Eliyahu Goldratt’s books, specifically “The Goal” but also “Critical Chain,” “It’s Not Luck” and others?

I read The Goal several years ago and I thought (and think)

(1) that it is an interesting and helpful introduction to a process for increasing efficiency of operations
(2) that organizing the book as a novel was a little clunky, but nonetheless a useful way to present the information
(3) that it was nonetheless a little hard to evaluate because it did not present real examples, but rather fictional examples of success; but
(4) that his discussion of techniques for resolving conflicts between people–the conflict resolution tree or whatever he called it–were naive and not very helpful, and that the fictionalized accounts of using this technique with his own family were laughably implausible.

I do think that the book has changed my thinking. When I’m faced with a multistep system, I always try to ask (1) what is the “throughput” for this system, and (2) what is the constraint on the throughput and how can I either expand the capacity of the constraint, or make better use of the capacity of the contraint.

It seems like the book, and Goldratt, has lots of admirers in the business and management community, but I have also heard accounts that the professional operations researchers think Goldratt is all wet. More precisely, they think that he is simply popularizing standard ideas from operations research and claiming them as his own.

I’m particularly interested in this right now, because I have recommended the book to others in my company in order to get everyone to think about how we can improve our operations.

I am a pretty big fan of Goldratt’s book “The Goal” as well as a few of his other books

Might be more Cafe Society, but still…

The idea of bottlenecks and one activity having a direct correlation to the performance of the whole system is pretty well described in “The Goal.” It certainly makes one think of the big picture and how things are organized.

I find that it was a useful book in at least giving me something to think about w.r.t. an operational system, but it is harder for me to actually apply it in my daily work (Director of a University MBA program).

Still, easy language, simple story, read it to the end…all in all OK. As for the nay-sayers, well, everyone gets them. But this book first came out 20 years ago (I think) and is still being read and referenced. So what if he built upon others ideas? The way he presents them makes it easy for one to get an idea of what goes into logistics and operations without all that silly math.


This is about a book, even though not literature. Therefore…

From IMHO to CS.

Perhaps the issue is moot because no one is replying anyway, but my question is asking for opinions on a particular school of operations research and a particular expert in operations research–as reflected in certain books by that author.

Yes, it mentioned a book, but that’s not really the issue. If I had said, what do you think about the Theory of Constraints, and other ideas by Eli Goldratt, then it would go in IMHO, but since I mention a book he wrote, it goes in Cafe Society?

Well, I thought about what you’re saying before I moved it. My decision was primarily based on your first line. Perhaps next time in a similar situation, I won’t make the same decision. And, as you say, replies aren’t plentiful anyway - maybe a change of forum will draw more attention to your OP.