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The Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information Out of the Data Ocean [Paperback]

Eliyahu M. Goldratt
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.25 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 1 2006 0884271846 978-0884271840
A "must" for every manager concerned with meeting the challenges of the 21st century. You'll see the differences between data and information in a new light, and understand precisely how misunderstanding those differences can affect the quality of your decision-making process. Starting with the structure of an organization, The Haystack Syndrome ends with a detailed description of the logic that must underpin the information system for any organization to maximize effectiveness.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information Out of the Data Ocean + Necessary But Not Sufficient: A Theory of Constraints Business Novel + Critical Chain
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About the Author

One of the world's most sought after business leaders - author and educator, Dr. Eli Goldratt. Eli Goldratt has been described by Fortune Magazine as a "guru to industry" and by Business Week as a "genius". His charismatic, stimulating, yet sometimes unconventional style has captured the attention of audiences throughout the world. Eli is a true thinker who provokes others to think. Eli Goldratt is the creator of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and is the author of 8 books, including the business best sellers The Goal, It's Not Luck, and Critical Chain. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints is used by thousands of companies, and is taught in hundreds of colleges, universities, and business schools. His books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 23 languages. Goldratt's fascinating work as an author, educator and business pioneer has resulted in the promulgation of TOC into many facets of society and has transformed management thinking throughout the world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
If you have already read Eliyahu Goldratt's classic manufacturing fable, THE GOAL, you will find this book to be a five star book for explaining his Theory of Constraints. You will not rate it higher than five stars because it is very tedious reading.
On the other hand, if you have not yet read THE GOAL, you will probably not be able to finish this book because it is so technical and devoid of interesting detail. You will probably rate it a one or two star book.
I averaged these two ratings to arrive at a three star rating.
So my advice is: Read THE GOAL first, then read this book. You can read my review of THE GOAL to see if that book is for you. THE GOAL is one of the best business books of all time, and I do hope you will read it.
Five aspects of this book will be most helpful to you. First, there is an exercise to identify the constraints in a manufacturing process, and then decide what to produce. Mr. Goldratt says that only 1 person in 100 is able to do this assignment correctly in his workshops. This is a superb way to test if you understand the principles of the Theory of Constraints. If you don't correctly solve the problem, go back over the material until the exercise is crystal clear to you. The next section in the book reviews the exercise for you, so be sure to do the exercise on your own before you read the discussion.
Second, the book has an example in it of a large company that was misled by its cost accounting data to outsource much of its production and drop many of its products. The result was a disaster for the company, its executives, and shareholders. This example will emotionally stay with you, and remind you to use the Theory of Constraints the next time your cost accounting data are about to be applieed in this usually harmful way.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to Goldratt, but skip part three Aug. 14 2000
If you have never been exposed to Eli Goldratt's work, this book probably should not be the first of his books one reads. It might be a good idea to read THE GOAL first and become somewhat familiar with Goldratt's terminology, but it is not essential. This book will hold the most interest for those who either work with, or make decisions based on, cost data. If you are looking for a "how-to" book, this is not for you. I recommend Dettmer's "Goldratt's Theory of Constraints". However, if you need a good primer on what Goldratt's philosophy is, and how it applies to business data and decision making, this is an excellent resource.
The Haystack Syndrome is composed of three parts, each roughly equal in size. Part One "Formalizing the Decision Process" is the most interesting and has the widest appeal since it is an excellent discussion of how cost data can be used and misused, depending on one's perception of what type of business environment one is in. This is where the real meat of the book lies. Part Two "The Architecture of an Information System" I found less interesting, but it does contain some useful information. However, many find it too dry and technical. Part Three "Scheduling" can be skipped without fear of missing anything you did not get in the first two parts. It is a nuts and bolts description of how Goldratt's ideal scheduling system should work. Since at the time of its publication Goldratt's company sold scheduling software, I think it was a thinly disguised sales pitch. Throughout the book, Goldratt does an excellent job of defining his terms, which is good because he quite often uses familiar terms but defines them in different, but logical ways. Pay attention to his definitions!
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In 1979, Eliyahu Goldratt wowed a half million readers, most of whom manufacturing managers, with his brilliant and fun novel - The Goal - about how to make a production plant really work. This fictional and entertaining account of a desperate plant manager, who takes a common sense approach to running a factory, formed the backdrop for the author to challenge conventional wisdom regarding the real purposes of manufacturing. Meanwhile, provoking us with innovative and thoughtful definitions about some of the most everyday concepts in our vocabulary, Goldratt indeed opened our minds to new ways of thinking about throughput, inventory, and expense.
It was reasonable to assume from the title of this work, and its sub-title "Sifting Information Out of the Data Ocean", that our author may now have turned his sights upon the information processing environment, with hopefully some equally provocative and enlightening concepts to share. Alas, this is no "Diehard 2". Gone is the fictional narrative and easy writing style that made the story come alive with real life scenarios. Gone are the bold redefinitions of familiar terms. And gone is the general applicability of this dusty tome, as it turns out not at all for information practitioners and professionals, but rather for those poor minions trying to successfully schedule a factory floor.
The book starts out trying to discern the difference between data and information, hardly a profound concept. Then we're treated to a long-winded regurgitation of the Goal (in case we didn't get it the first time, I guess...); followed by an onslaught of argument about the pitfalls of manufacturing cost accounting.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dry reading but does exectly the job I need
I'm in the process of making a DBR scheduling program, with the help of a consultant of course. But everything that needs to be implemented and everything the consultant and I... Read more
Published 11 months ago by N. Pauletto
2.0 out of 5 stars One good book?
OK, we expect you to publish on your theory frequently.
Um, but I have nothing new to say. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2003 by EgusHdus
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate planning thinking
This book gives you the best guidelines to the planning and scheduling world. It is easy readable, but be careful. The theory looks easy, but it isn't. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2002 by Niels Uhrbrand
4.0 out of 5 stars Data versus Information
Goldratt plunges directly to the heart of the matter. Decision makers need information that will help them understand the likely results following from their choices. Read more
Published on June 13 2002 by J. B. Potter
4.0 out of 5 stars People "get" TOC at different levels
This book separates those readers who get TOC at a deep level from those who don't. It's not easy reading because it makes you think -- hard at times. Read more
Published on June 8 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars Good start, noisy and confusing finish
Goldratt starts the book with a solid and useful explanation of TOC. After that, however, he wanders into trying to derive the information needed to drive a business and the... Read more
Published on July 7 1999
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