Books That Inspire 2004

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
Eliyahu Goldratt

There are a number of books that inspired me as a young man, but Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement is a book that inspired me as a middle-aged professor. That is rarer.

Goldratt was trying to sell software. He wrote The Goal to explain the need for his scheduling software in such a radically unconventional way that his book sold over two million copies. The software still didn’t sell but Goldratt uncovered some simple business truths in such a convincing manner that he is now the head of a global business consulting firm and has affected the production processes of thousands of businesses

The book is written as a novel with plots and subplots and developed characters. It uses Socratic questioning and scientific reasoning to lead the main characters, painfully slowly, to some basic insights into business processes. It was pleasant to read and it gave me new insight into a subject that I have read about, practiced, and taught for years.

The Goal inspired me both with insight into a subject close to my heart and with the innovative way it accomplished the task. It is an easy to read novel, but will leave you with an enhanced understanding of contemporary business thinking.
William McManus
Associate Professor
Construction Science