Ways of Working104

Evan's Book Reviews: Lean Edition

Evan Leybourn

March 10, 2019


I read a lot - not all of it related to agile or business management, but enough. Below are some of the important books that have shaped my thinking (and writing). Not all of them a great (as you can see from my ranking), but they all contain some interesting ideas. This group of reviews will focus on those books that relate to lean practices.

This post contains Amazon affilliate links.

The Machine That Changed the World

The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production

Author: James P. Womack

An old book, but still a must read for any business leader. The machine that changed the world must be read by any business leader interested in efficiency or process improvement. It is a very accessible book, even for readers outside the automotive industry.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copy: Amazon link

Kaizen – The Key To Japan’s Competitive Success

Author: Masaaki Imai

While this book may be several decades old, and the Japanese miracle no longer as relevant as once it was, it is by no means out of date. This book will provide you with a practical understanding of continuous improvement and how that relates to corporate performance and leadership. I would recommend this book for beginners and anyone wanting a refresh on Kaizen.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copy: Amazon link

Lean Production Simplified

Author: Pascal Dennis

I read this book when I was first learning about lean production. At the time I found it to be a great resource to understand many of the concepts and techniques that underpin this. As the title suggests, it is a simplified overview, and probably too simple for anyone who has move than a couple of years experience in lean production.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copyAmazon link

Juran Institute’s Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond

Authors: Joseph De Feo, William Barnard and the Juran Institute 

The concepts on planning, control and breakthrough, as defined in “Juran Institute’s Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond” are clear and simple guidelines for good business management. This book isn’t an introduction to Six Sigma, and definately requires a firm understanding of the core principles and practices before you open the cover. If you already do Six Sigma, I’d recommend this as further reading, if not, you could do better elsewhere.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐

Buy a copyAmazon link

Toyota Production System – Beyond Large-Scale Production

Author: Taiichi Ohno

Understanding TPS, and the subsequent evolution into lean manufacturing, is critical to any business leader. This work is seminal in the field and should be considered compulsory reading. I’d also recommend that anyone interested in the history of TPS also read “The Machine that Changed the World”. My only criticism of this book is that it doesn’t provide a lot of depth, nor much in the way of practical advice, on lean manufacturing. Although, in the books defense, that’s not what it is trying to do.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy a copyAmazon link



Subscribe to “Emergence: the Journal of Business Agility”

Delivered to your mailbox four times a year, we bring together a curated selection of exclusive stories by great thinkers and practitioners from around the globe that you’ll only find in our publications.

These stories, research reports, and articles were selected to broaden your horizons and spark your creativity.

BAI Individual Membership Benefits

  • Unrestricted access the business agility library

  • Download complete eBooks on the most pressing topics

  • Replay your favourite moments from any of the global Business Agility Conferences

  • Network with your peers from around the world

  • Member discount on your subscription to Emergence

1 / Infinity

October 6, 2022, 5 minutes read time

Connecting Coach to Business Need

September 12, 2022, 54 seconds read time

2022 State of Agile Coaching

July 10, 2020, 15 minutes read time

From Ensemble to Orchestra

December 5, 2020, 32 seconds read time

Leaning Into Culture During Times of Crisis

July 29, 2020, 26 minutes read time

Structural Agility

You have NaN out of 5 free articles to read

Please subscribe and become a member to access the entire Business Agility Library without restriction.