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It’s Not Luck by Eliyahu Goldratt

In my review of

It’s Not Luck

by Eliyahu Goldratt posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it Three Stars. This is Worthwhile.

Here is my review.

A story using the Theory of Constraints in the market where lack of demand is the constraint

I read It’s Not Luck when it was first published in 1994 and have read it several times since but I still think it’s a disappointing book.

I loved The Goal by Eli Goldratt. It is an insightful business book which revealed simple and powerful ideas through a fast paced and engaging story. It brought the Theory of Constraints to the world and challenged some of the new ideas coming out to right the ills of 1980s/1990s accounting. It’s Not Luck is a pale shadow of it’s famous predecessor.

This book is written by Eli Goldratt and not Eli Goldratt and Jeff Cox who wrote The Goal together. While Goldratt is the genius who has developed the Theory of Constraints, Cox must have been the one who provided the compelling writing style which kept you turning page after page until the book was finished.

The story form is still there and it still focuses on the hero of The Goal, Alex Rogo who has since been promoted and has responsibility for three struggling businesses put up for sale by a group desperate to generate cash and strengthen their balance sheet.

Attention moves from operations to the market and why customers don’t buy enough. To solve the problem, it introduces the Theory of Constraints thinking processes.

A strength of The Goal were the ideas and the imagery (e.g. Herbie and the other scouts walking through the forest) were crystal clear. Easy to understand and to remember. The Thinking Processes are more complicated. It’s crying out for a text book style section which let’s you go back and read up on the concept again if you don’t understand before moving on. It’s not in here and there isn’t even an index if you want to check the meaning of strange, new terminology like an “evaporating cloud” or a “future reality tree”.

The TOC Thinking Processes feel powerful – and I know some people swear by them – but the book doesn’t give you enough guidance on how to apply the concepts and this adds to the frustration. Lisa Scheinkopf’s book, Thinking For A Change which is based on the TOC Thinking Processes is excellent. Even better but longer, is William Dettmer’s The Logical Thinking Process

In It’s Not Luck, I thought the story gets in the way of the business lessons while in “The Goal“, the story made the ideas seem even more important and relevant.

If you loved The Goal and you want to know more about the Theory Of Constraints and how the constraints can lie outside of your business, then It’s Not Luc” is worth a read, even if you may not be entirely satisfied by the time you reach the end. Read it and then go straight onto Thinking For A Change or The Logical Thinking Process

If you have heard of the Theory Of Constraints and want to understand more, then start with The Goal. Even if you don’t have a manufacturing business, my advice is to start with that first book.


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