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Doug Kyle "LucidAvenue.com" (Edmonton, AB Canada)
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The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Edition: Paperback
39 used & new from CDN$ 1.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Goal: A great business novel, Dec 3 2009
The Goal is a fantastic business novel that wraps up a whole lot of common sense that most of us miss. The novel follows Alex Rogo, a manager in a manufacturing plant that is in danger of going out of business as he and his team figure out how to get back into the black and making money. Aside from being a reasonably well written novel, the advice provided through out the book is great and has application in many more areas of business and industry than just manufacturing.

The first point of common sense it comes to is the goal of any business. In its simplest form, the goal of every business should be to make money. This gets elaborated on more in the statement: The goal is to make money by increasing net profit while simultaneously increasing ROI and simultaneously increasing cash flow. This is done through these areas:
Throughput: the rate a system generates money through sales. This is your money coming into the system.
Inventory: all the money that the system has invested in purchasing things which it intends to sell. This is money stuck in the system.
Operational Expense: All the money the system spends in order to turn inventory into throughput. This is the money going out of the system.

While all of this will likely make sense to anyone in business, the even more valuable lesson learned within the book is the importance of measuring these three areas and NOT worrying so much about irrelevant measurements, which is pretty much every other measurement we seem to use. Examples of what not to measure in manufacturing seemed to focus around efficiencies and keeping people busy while in software, it would be common measurements such as lines of code written per hour or a daily defect fix rate. While I have no doubt people will quickly disagree with this concept, the genius of the book is showing just how important these measurements are.

Once Alex and his team come to understand this, they then delve into managing by the theory of constraints which, after realizing the above, focuses on
What to change.
What it has to change to and
How to change it.
The book is very effective due to its readability and common sense approach and definitely worth a read.

Written by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

Goldratt`s site, while advertising his consulting and services also has a number of good free resources on the theory of constraints and more.
[...].

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving At Work, Home, and School
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving At Work, Home, and School
by John Medina
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.16
19 used & new from CDN$ 13.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brain Rules - a great laymen's look into the mind., June 25 2009
It seems that not much is known about the way the mind works, which isn't really a big surprise. However, there are a few things that are coming to light and this book provides an engaging read on what they are. Each of the 12 brain rules listed covers how each affects our ability to think, learn and work and some thoughts as to why we developed the way we did.

Note, if you get the hardcover version, you'll also get a DVD with some video content about each rule and there is a companion website ([...]) with different videos and animations available (tapping into rule #5 on Short Term Memory (Remember to Repeat).

In short, the rules cover: Exercise, Survival, Wiring, Attention, Short-Term Memory, Long-Term Memory, Sleep, Stress, Sensory Integration, Vision, Gender and Exploration.

Cool points:
1. too much sleep is as harmful to learning as too little.
2. gender... well, the whole chapter is cool and no doubt going to get me in trouble if I'm ever having a pint or two and get into a "differences between genders" conversation!

Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life
Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life
by Robert Fritz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.96
97 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part psychology, part process re-engineering, June 5 2009
A great book highlighting some of the common errors of thought in traditional problem solving, and expressing the need to rethink how we approach this area (i.e. from a structural point of view rather than the simpler, more common pain relief point of view). Part psychology, part process re-engineering, this is a fairly quick read with a solid presentation of an important idea.

Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management
by Scott Berkun
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 37.75
37 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Project Management, as it should be discussed, June 5 2009
While the PMI and their published book of knowledge (PMBOK) are considered by many to be the standard in IT project management, I found this book to go far above and beyond those. While the PMBOK is a great reference book for various PM related tools, this book actually speaks to how to manage, how to deal with difficult situations, and many simple tricks of the trade.

It also demystifies project management and speaks to it at a level where anyone can grasp its basics. I highly recommend this for Project Managers, Managers and Team Leaders.

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)
by Patrick M. Lencioni
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.03
54 used & new from CDN$ 10.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid title from Patrick Lencioni, Sept. 26 2008
Much like Patrick Lencioni's other books this one is an accessible, solid inspection of a single aspect of good management. In particular, it focuses around what makes a job miserable. It puts forward that one or more of three aspects are present in a miserable job.
1. Anonymity - "People who see themselves as invisible, generic, or anonymous cannot love their jobs, no matter what they are doing."
2. Irrelevance - "Everyone needs to know their job matters to someone."
3. Immeasurement - "Without a tangible means for assessing success or failure, motivation eventually deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate."

As in his other books, much of what Patrick has to say seems obvious while you're reading it. Yet from my own experiences, I know many people who are miserable in their jobs for exactly these reasons. Obvious or not, MANY managers and leaders are guilty of letting these things slide. If you're a manager suffering from high turn-over or low employee productivity, it would probably be a good idea to give this book a read.The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
by Patrick M. Lencioni
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.92
67 used & new from CDN$ 6.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, to the point, and accessible, Sept. 21 2008
A fantastic book that gets to the heart of what makes a team successful by telling a fable of a team that is failing. If you lead teams, chances are you'll recognize one or more of the characters in the book.

One of my favorite things about Lencioni's books is that his writing style is very accessible and each book is focused on one aspect of being a manager/leader.

PMP Exam Prep: Rita's Course in a Book for passing the PMP Exam
PMP Exam Prep: Rita's Course in a Book for passing the PMP Exam
by Rita Mulcahy
Edition: Paperback
45 used & new from CDN$ 4.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Exam Takers, July 9 2008
As the name implies, this is an Exam Prep book. With great insight into how the exam questions are written, it was the only book I needed. I passed the PMP exam on the first try with the following study method:

- attempt to use the PMBOK... very dry and I made it to chapter 3 (it's a great reference book, but painful to read/study from)
- bought this PM Exam Prep book
- read it through once, much easier
- book marked a number of sections and re-read those once more before the exam
- wrote the exam, passed.

The PMP was one of the toughest exams I've written. Knowing the mindset of the people writing the questions for it was a huge help and that's where this book really stands out. It's got activities and other great study tools if you choose to use them, as well as a few sample questions to give you an idea of what you'll be getting into.

Note that Version 4 of the PMBOK is coming out late 2008 which means testing on that version will commence late 2009. This always causes some headaches, so if you're going for your PMP, buy this book and get the exam done with! If you're not going for your PMP, skip this book.

First, Break All The Rules: What The Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently
First, Break All The Rules: What The Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently
by Marcus Buckingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.20
138 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever have a great manager?, June 29 2008
A fantastic book and now in my top recommendations for managers and leaders! If you've ever had the fortune to work with a great manager but can't quite put your finger on what made them so great, the READ THIS BOOK. Very well researched, and a great presentation. The first part of the book identifies the attributes that their Gallup studies have uncovered in a very readable way. Then, it delves into specifics on how you can implement many of these. I bookmarked many pages in this one!!

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