Four Most Influential Lean Books

Recently, I reviewed The Lean Turnaround by Art Byrne.  The book was excellent and really struck a cord with me.  So while writing the review, I paused for reflection about what are the lean books that have influenced me the most and why.  I came up with a distinct list of four books.  Below is the list in order that I read them and why it had such an impact on me.

  • The Toyota Way By Jeffrey Liker – This was the first book on lean that I read.  Of course, right?  It is the foundation of everything else.  All the principles clicked instantly with me.  The book showed me that others are doing it a better way.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean By Jamie Flinchbaugh & Andy Carlino – I read this book after learning and implementing lean for about 4 years.  The book took everything I had read from the internet and been implementing and organized it in a way that really made sense to me.  The principles allowed me to organize my thoughts and actions.  This allowed me to become a better coach/teacher/trainer.
  • Better Thinking, Better Results By Bob Emiliani – This book was a great case study of how you can transform every aspect of a company.  Not just manufacturing, but HR, Sales, and Finance.  It showed how using lean to become more efficient can free up cash to grow or pay down debt.  Great case study that really reinforced that lean can be done anywhere and should be.
  • The Lean Turnaround By Art Byrne – This book reinforces what I learned from “Better Thinking, Better Results” but Art also laid out actions to be taken to have a successful lean turnaround.  Art stresses and demonstrates the importance of having the top leadership engaged in the work and not just supporting the work.  It was the first book I read that is designed for executive leadership.

Deeper reflection leads me to recommend reading these books in this order for anyone that hasn’t read any of them.  It has a nice progression to understanding what lean is and what are some guiding principles to understanding how effective lean is when done throughout the entire organization and finally the need for executive leadership and how to lead a lean turnaround.

What lean/business books have influenced you?

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Posted on March 4, 2013, in Leadership, Misc, Principles and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I look at books on Lean as more technical and methodical, which is a good thing.

    However, when I think of influential books I think of life-changers. I LOVE Seth Godin’s works, especially Purple Cow about being remarkable and Jon Spoelstra’s Marketing Outrageously. Both are about changing the way we view what we do or how we are viewed by our markets or potential customers.

    Recently, Seth’s blog has been very focused on process optimization. I am going to share a couple of his blog post links in an upcoming post of my own. Also, there is a passage from Spoelstra that I will share with you that resembles a sports team’s approach to hoshin kanri (it may be a stretch, but it’s about long-term strategy even if it’s not so methodical).

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