The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

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The Theory of Constraints - a business novel


In 1984, Eliyahu Goldratt chose a new format to present a new management approach, the Theory of Constraints (TOC) with his novel The Goal.

The book has since been widely regarded as one of the most influential business books of all time; a bestseller since its publication in 1984, with over 10 million copies sold, and translated into 32 languages; it is taught in high schools, universities and business schools around the world. Named in the Time magazine list as one of the 25 most influential business management books, it is frequently cited by executives as their favorite or must-have book.

Eliyahu Goldratt also chose this format to present his reflections and introduce new methodologies, derived from Theory of Constraints, such as Critical Chain.


Book summary

Alex Rogo is a harassed plant manager who has 90 days to save his failed factory (and his marriage). The plant suffers from numerous delays, loses money, and undergoes staff reductions, pressure from headquarters and changes in priorities depending on the dissatisfied customer who calls. If he does not improve the factory performance, the company headquarters will close it and hundreds of employees will lose their jobs.

He then has the chance to meet Jonah, a former teacher, who helps him to move away from his conventional way of thinking and to determine what to do. As Alex and his team find solutions, the reader understands the fundamental concepts of Theory of Constraints.

How to find the constraint of one's business thanks to a mountain hike with children? How to increase the flow of the constraint with simple solutions? How to measure the progress actually made apart from the local performance indicators? How to manage its production capacity to reach the goal? How to manage bottleneck and non-bottleneck resources?


For many of its readers, this book represents a must-have reading, especially for managers, it allows, through the history of a factory in difficulty, in which some will be able to recognize themselves, take a step back and ask simple but fundamental questions, whatever the sector of activity:

What is the goal of my business? What are the constraints that prevent us from reaching it?

The Goal Eliyahu Goldratt

In his book, in French, Le Management Par les Contraintes (MPC - Constraints Management), Philip Marris offers a concrete description of the implementation of the principles explained in the novel The Goal.

The Goal is also available in a graphic version, currently only in English, thanks to an adaptation  by Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Dean Motter.

To enrich your reading or rediscover the book, the eBook (in French) "Le But revisité" by Joël-Henry Grossard summarizes and comments the novel.

About Marris Consulting

Marris Consulting is an industry consulting and training company specialized in the Theory of Constraints (ToC) and Critical Chain Project Management. We focus on improving the performance of manufacturing and process industries by using Constraints Management combined with Lean and Six Sigma. To boost project performance, we also use Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), which we sometimes combine with Lean Engineering. Our 2-day performance audits, our performance consulting services and our project management, Lean, ToC & CCPM training by our industry consultants offer a wide range of solutions to help our clients around the world reach the highest possible levels of performance.

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