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Goldratt has been an especially prolific author in recent years. This is the second of three books; the others are The Goal (1992) and Critical Chain (1997). In The Goal, Goldratt's primary focus is on the a-pplications of what he calls a Theory of Constraints (TOC) to the manufacturing process. In that book and in this one, he presents his ideas in the form of fiction (as a novel), complete with a cast of characters, a multi-dimensional narrative (or plot), a variety of settings, and perhaps most important of all, a series of conflicts. Few other authors with sufficient business acumen would attempt, much less succeed (as Goldratt does) in combining the two genres. Long ago, someone suggested that luck is the residue of preparation. Goldratt seems to agree. In this volume, he devotes much of his attention to demonstrating the relevance of TOC to marketing, sales, inventory control, distribution channels, strategic alliances, and conflict resolution. I believe it was Carl Rogers who suggested that one of the most effective strategies for conflict resolution is to set aside all points on which both parties agree, each party then makes whatever concessions are appropriate (i.e. terms and conditions of lesser importance); thereby, the parties involved can then concentrate on what are, for both sides, the most important differences. And do so with mutual respect and with goodwill. Goldratt applies the "Rogerian Model" to countless situations in this book, suggesting that conflict resolution is the result of sustained effort and patience, not luck.
It is occasionally said of an especially well-written business book that "it reads like a novel." What we have here IS a novel. Never before have executives had more to read and less time for reading. One of this book's most appealing qualities is that it is so easy to read. (The challenge is to make effective applications of TOC in an increasingly more competitive marketplace.) Goldratt is an authority on the business subjects he discusses as well as an excellent teller of tales. That's a rare combination.
For whom will this book have greatest value? Obviously, decision-makers who now have one or more of the following needs: to set or re-set the direction of their organization; to formulate appropriate marketing and sales strategies; to improve production, logistics, and distribution; to launch or improve project management initiatives; and/or to strengthen the skills of line managers.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to read Goldratt's other books, The Goal and Critical Chain; also, to check out David Maister's Practice What You Preach and David Whyte's The Heart Aroused. With all due respect to the core concepts Goldratt examines in this volume, they are worthless unless and until embraced by everyone involved. Master and Whyte can help managers to achieve that "buy in."
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on February 17, 2003
It's not luck is another novel about Mr. Rogo and his career. Where the first novel (the Goal) introduced a number of concepts relating to manufacturing, this one tries to convince us that the nowadays VP of a group magically discovers the definition and use of Marketing halfway through the book (who promotes a guy to a VP position without the guy knowing at least the basics about marketing?). Another revelation he magically puts on us is that Knowledge Managament is a very important concept, as well as the revelation that the book value of a company is different from the real value. Sigh, this is taught in every MBA course in existence (at least it should be). Furthermore, we should believe that the main character who is obviously severely brain-damaged (together with his apple-pie family), yet manages to become CEO of a large conglomerate? The author is hailed like a genius that has discovered so much truths... like the resource based-view of the firm (even though he doesn't understand that this is what he has discovered).
If you do find this believable, I have some dotcom stocks to sell you, I promise that they will soon rebound...
The Goal is worth reading, but this book is a waste of paper and money, buy something else, like a Barbara Cartland novel.
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It's Not Luck is the sequel to Eliyahu Goldratt's great business novel, The Goal. After their success in The Goal, Alex and his team have all been promoted into the key positions in the faltering Diversified Businesses group in their conglomerate. The whole company is faltering, and great pressure is put on Alex and the team to turn their businesses around. The story emphasizes the Thinking Processes from The Goal, and the importance of using them in business and in personal life. The problems addressed are primarily ones of (1) tailoring the bundle of business product and service offerings for customers in ways that create profit margin advantages across the business (2) by building on benefits from adding value for customers in improved ways and (3) creating these advances in ways that competitors cannot easily duplicate. The examples include a printing business for packaging, a beauty salon products business, and providing a service and parts intensive product.
The book's main story is interesting, and will keep you turning the pages. If you only read this as a novel about the caring manager and parent as a hero, you will find this to be a five star book.
If you want the book to help you learn new methods, you will find it not too beneficial. The examples are developed at such a level of generality that you will probably learn little from them. I graded the book down two stars for this weakness. Most readers won't know any more about how to create advantaged business models at the end of the book than they did at the beginning, except that they are to remember to apply the lessons from The Goal to all of their businesses.
The concepts that the book suggests are all perfectly valid and helpful ones. The first notion is to think of your customer and yourself as one entity. How can the two entities be combined in order to create the most value for both? The second notion is to then think about combining your business with acquisitions or being acquired by others so that the new business model can be applied to all these enterprises. I hope you do learn how to develop these commendable ideas.
After you finish reading this book, I suggest that you think about all of the ways that current measurements in your business cause you to optimize the performance of parts of your enterprise rather than the whole business and that of your customers. If you can locate those flaws, you can then begin to change the measurements to become those that reward the correct enterprise-customer optimization goal. The rest of the benefits will tend to flow from making that change, even if you never become very good at using the Thinking Process described in this book. Self-interest can take you a long way.
Become truly symbiotic with your customers in ways that enhance vitality for all!
And don't be afraid to think about how to include employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the communities you serve in this consideration of optimization!
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on August 19, 2000
It's Not Luck is the follow up to the Goal. Written in the form of a Novel, it examines different value perceptions of the market. You'll learn about ultra variable costing, utilizing excess capacity to serve seemingly unprofitable market segments, and how to break down barriers to achieve new avenues to profitability. Priceline is a perfect example of an entire company built on exploiting constraints in the marketplace, and wringing every last bit of revenue (maybe one day profitably) out of previously unused capacity.
The book provides a brief introduction to the Thinking Processes, which are used to examine conflicting logical arguments, and develop a workable solution, satisfactory to both sides. Within the book, the methodology of the Thinking Processes is applied to both business dilemmas, and to that of parent/teenager relationships. It's all about building understanding between people with differing perspectives, and the variety of situations to which it is applied clearly illustrates the versatility of Goldratt's methods.
If you found "The Goal" valuable, you'll like this one, though w/o Jeff Cox, the writing isn't quite as good as the Goal. To continue your journey into the world of TOC and the TP (Theory of Constraints and Thinking Processes) look for books by H. William Dettmer. No novel formats in Dettmer's books, that I've read, but much more thorough explanation of TOC.
For TOC on project management, check out Goldratt's "Critical Chain"!
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on February 25, 1997
While I enjoyed "The Goal", Goldratt's latest, "It's Not Luck" was hard to put down! Alex Rogo saved the day again, or more specifically saved his companies again, and once again Goldratt told his story in a manner that mixed fiction with solid business and human-relations principles. I am a marketing and business consultant, and after reading this book, I immediately declared it required reading for the executives and key-man employees of each company I am working with. Without exception it met with rave reviews. One of the managers, wife and half-owner of a manufacturing facility, made some major changes in company policies and used the techniques in this book to present these changes to the employees of the company. The rationale behind every single change was easily understood by even the most under-educated employee, and met with virtually no resistance! Revenues the following month increased by 150% and everyone employed by this company felt more rewarded, and more prideful, by their own contribution to the production process than ever before. Needless to say, this company rewarded me with a liberal bonus just for introducing them to this book! On the homefront, I have found several opportunities to use Alex Rogo's techniques to negotiate conflicts with my children, to the mutual satisfaction of all: a rarity indeed
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on June 8, 1996
Review of "It's Not Luck" by Eliyahu M. Goldratt:This story is about marketing and competitive strategy. Alex Rogo, Mr. Goldratt's fictional hero, has to save three of his companies and hundreds of employees from the chopping block of corporate divestiture by applying logic and persuasive skills. Mr. Goldratt conducts his unique style of logical examination in a field different from that of the "The Goal", his first and more famous book. While "The Goal" says run your production operation for cash, "It's Not Luck" says the value of a product, or an entire business, is in the eye of the buyer, not the supplier. A management book without the jargon and trendiness you get elsewhere.
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on January 18, 2003
This book is about common sense. This book is the second "Must Read" for Industrial engineers and MBA students in the Eliyahu Goldratt books.
It talks about the possibilities of the state of the art distribution networks to lead to new marketing solutions. Although this book talks about marketing solutions but it is targeted for managers coming out of manufacturing toward upper level management. Some of the solutions are common sense, but the problem it reflect a lot of the problems in the outside world, were commonsense is not common any more.
I recommend reading this book after reading "The Goal".
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on September 20, 2001
This book describes Goldratt's method of solving problems, resolving conflicts, and how to apply his methods to sales, marketing (there is a difference), and general business management.
As a novel, it doesn't really hold my attention. But the ideas do. Presenting them as a book is a, ahem, novel way of doing it. It holds my attention better than reading a how-to book.
The process is hinted at, but not completely described. This is different than "The Goal," which came right out and told you what to do. I think that Goldratt was trying to promote his consulting company as much as sell a book.
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on May 12, 2004
This book, in novel form, is a description of the "Thinking Process" of Theory of Constraints. This Thinking Process is really a bookkeeping process to provide rigor in rational thought. The story line is a bit weak, but as others have observed, it makes reading the dry processes fun. Once you have read this book, and are convinced that moving from a current reality [tree] to a future reality [tree] with the clouds removed is going to require the construction of a transition plan [tree], but you need some help, read "Thinking for a Change", by Lisa J. Scheinkopf - ISBN: 1574441019
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on June 20, 2001
Goldratt has written an inspiring novel that illustrates how his Thinking Processes can help you find common-sense solutions to problems. In the story, protagonist Alex Rogo keeps three of his company's unprofitable units from being sold by applying the Thinking Processes to devise startling turnaround strategies, and then by seeing that those strategies were implemented. He also successfully applied the Thinking Processes to challenges he faced at home.
This book gives some insight into how to use the Thinking Processes, but does not explain them in detail.
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