Book Recommendations

Book recommendations from P3 Consulting Group. We like to provide a quick overview of the book and where it fits into the typical needs of our clients.

Approximately Right, Not Precisely Wrong

Approximately Right, Not Precisely Wrong: Cost Accounting, Pricing, & Decision Making by Yoram Eden and Boaz Ronen.

P3CG recommendation: a good book for anyone looking to understand more about how traditional cost accounting can lead managers to make some erroneous day to day decisions and are looking for a better way to make better financial decisions.



Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down by John Kotter is a very fast read with a focus on taking your good ideas public.  In short: show respect for everyone, and ask the people who don’t like your idea to join in the conversation.

P3CG Recommendation: This isn’t the first book on change management or buy-in that you will read, but it is a great addition to your repertoire of skills and techniques when it comes to making your ideas public.


Critical Chain

Critical Chain is the original business novel about Critical Chain Project Management, written by Eli Goldratt.  It does a good job of building up the case for CCPM and describing the impact this new way of thinking can have.

P3CG recommendation:We recommend Critical Chain for anyone who is getting into Theory of Constraints for project management.


The Goal

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eli Goldratt and Jeff Cox is the classic business novel that started the Theory of Constraints movement.

P3CG recommendation: The Goal captures the essence of TOC, and we recommend it for anyone who is new to the discipline.


Great Boss Dead Boss

The strangely-titled Great Boss Dead Boss by Ray Immelman is an interesting read on the topic of organizations and the tribes that bind people together. The ideas are built in a business novel format where the “boss” in question has to learn how to lead his organization before it goes up in smoke.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend for anyone who wants new ways to think about leading organizations.


Gung Ho!

Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles is a classic Blanchard book: short and to the point.  This one focuses on the importance of building an engaged and enthusiastic organization.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this book for a great view on creating a new organization.


The Haystack Syndrome

The Haystack Syndrome: Sifting Information Out of the Data Ocean by Eli Goldratt is a very dense read that plays on the “find a needle in a haystack” idea.  There is a particularly interesting Goldratt quote that comes out of this book:  Information is the answer to the  question asked.

P3CG recommendation: We only recommend this book for people who are deeply curious about Theory of Constraints and its applications.


The Heart of Change

The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations by John Kotter is a great follow-on to his original Leading Change.  As is obvious from the title, this book has a set of stories for each of the steps of Kotter’s recommended 8-step change process.  He makes it very clear that leading change is all about creating behavior change.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this as a follow-on to Leading Change or as a standalone book to inspire change.


Isn’t It Obvious

Isn’t It Obvious? is a short story by Eli Goldratt that embeds both the implementation of the Distribution Solution for retail with discussion of the “obvious” nature of the solution to any problem that seems to evade most people.  It is written to be easily understood and reads very fast.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend Isn’t It Obvious for anyone who works in retail distribution or wishes to see the Distribution solution in operation.


It’s Not Luck

It’s Not Luck is the follow-up story to The Goal.  Now Alex Rogo is running a larger part of the business and he needs to develop a marketing and sales strategy that makes the best use of their manufacturing capacity.

P3CG recommendation: We  highly recommend this book for people in Alex’s position.


Leading Change

Leading Change by John Kotter is an excellent resource that describes an eight-step change management process with a focus on creating new behaviors.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this book and Kotter’s work in general because it aligns very closely with the methods we use in our implementations.


The Logical Thinking Process

The Logical Thinking Process: A Systems Approach to Complex Problem Solving by Bill Dettmer describes the TOC Thinking Processes as a single, sweeping entity to be used together.  Note that the title calls it the logical thinking process – singular.  This is a thorough treatment of the Thinking Processes, showing how they can all connect together.  One could also use this book as a reference on how to approach any one of the thinking processes alone too.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more about the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes – to learn how to apply this style of logical thinking to any problem.


Management Dilemmas

Management Dilemmas: The Theory of Constraints Approach to Problem Identification and Solutions by Eli Schragenheim.

P3CG recommendation: This book is an excellent resource for those who have a basic understanding of TOC and are looking to improve on their skills in applying the concepts in a variety of different environments.


Manufacturing at Warp Speed

Manufacturing at Warp Speed: Optimizing Supply Chain Financial Performance by Eli Schragenheim and Bill Dettmer is an earlier version of their work that has been updated in Supply Chain Management at Warp Speed.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend the newer book, as it contains updated content and some new concepts on how to use Theory of Constraints in manufacturing and the supply chain.


Necessary But Not Sufficient

Necessary But Not Sufficient is another business novel by Goldratt, Eli Schragenheim, and Carol A Ptak.  This time the story describes the application of Theory of Constraints thinking into the world of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other large business software companies.  What is it these technologies should do for business?

P3CG recommendation: This is not a beginners’ book for learning TOC, but it is a great description of how TOC thinking should become part of any major business decisions.


Production the TOC Way

Production the TOC Way with Simulator by Eli Goldratt is a workbook that comes with a production simulator.  The workbook walks through a number of simulations that take the student from “traditional” operations through the Five Focusing Steps applied in a production scenario.

P3CG recommendation: This workbook is for students of TOC who wish to do self-learning or in groups, directed by an expert.


The Race

The Race by Eli Goldratt and Bob Fox is a set of slides and exercises for someone new to Theory of Constraints for manufacturing.

P3CG recommendation: While this is not a book to be read as such, it is a useful workbook for those learning about TOC in manufacturing.


Raving Fans

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.

P3 recommendation: This is an easy to read yet, powerful book for anyone who wants to learn more about excellent customer service, which in our minds should be everyone.


Reaching the Goal

Reaching The Goal: How Managers Improve a Services Business Using Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints by John Ricketts, who comes out of IBM.  The book discusses how to apply TOC ideas of project management and supply chain management into services businesses where the concern is around ensuring that there are enough people to serve customers at the levels they expect.  It’s an advanced TOC book in that the application area is somewhat non-traditional.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend Reaching the Goal for people who are delivering services and those who are learning more and more about how TOC can apply in various environments.


Selling the Wheel

Selling The Wheel: Choosing The Best Way To Sell For You Your Company Your Customers by Jeff Cox and Howard Stevens. 

P3CG recommendation: Selling the Wheel is a very good introduction for salespeople interested in learning how to sell differently to different markets and especially products in different life cycles.


Simplifying Innovation

Simplifying Innovation: Doubling speed to market and new product profits – with your existing resources by Mike Dalton is an excellent business novel about an organization struggling to grow by developing new products quickly and manufacture them as well.  The book is enjoyable to read and makes for a number of “ah-hah” moments.  Recommended.


SPIN Selling

SPIN Selling is the now-classic by Neil Rackham on how to sell using Situation, Problem, Implication, Need.

P3CG recommendation: SPIN Selling is a must read for anyone looking to improve on closing larger scale sales opportunities.  Perhaps the most highly recommended book on sales we have found to date.


Supply Chain Management at Warp Speed

Supply Chain Management at Warp Speed: Integrating the System from End to End by Eli Schragenheim, Bill Dettmer and J. Wayne Patterson, is an expansion on Schragenheim & Dettmer’s earlier work focused on manufacturing / shop floor, Manufacturing at Warp Speed.  The book covers manufacturing with a basic review of drum-buffer-rope (DBR) and discusses a new approach to DBR called Simplified DBR that has become a common implementation technique. They expand beyond the shop floor to discuss managing raw materials as well as the distribution chain beyond manufacturing out to the customer.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this as a great textbook on manufacturing and distribution implementations of Theory of Constraints.



Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath is a great framework for thinking about change management.  The essential framework is that effective change needs to appeal to emotion, logic, and habit.  The authors use the metaphor of an elephant, its rider, and the path to connect to these elements.  The book is also loaded with examples that demonstrate their points – some of which may be familiar to people who have read their other work.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this book as a excellent way to think about change and creating change in your organization.


Thinking for a Change

Thinking for a Change: Putting the TOC Thinking Processes to Use by Lisa Scheinkopf is a good starting points for learning the TOC “thinking processes.”  The best starting point is to learn the basics and begin applying them in your situation.  This book treats each of the thinking processes in isolation, where Dettmer’s The Logical Thinking Process treats them a continuous process.  We find that practice with the thinking processes makes the most sense.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more about the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes.


Throughput Accounting

Throughput Accounting by Thomas Corbett describes how to make decisions and measure improvements from the Theory of Constraints mindset.

P3CG recommendation: Throughput Accounting is an essential resource for those who wish to better understand how to utilize throughput accounting to make better day to day decisions on truly improving profitability.


Understanding Variation

Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos by Donald Wheeler is full of techniques to help people understand their systems by analyzing the data that come out of the system.

P3CG recommendation: We highly recommend this book to people who want to analyze data about their systems.


We All Fall Down

We All Fall Down: Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints for Healthcare Systems by Julie Wright and Russ King describes the application of Theory of Constraints in a healthcare setting – specifically a hospital in the United Kingdom.

P3CG recommendation: We recommend this book for people exploring improvements in the healthcare arena, as well as for people who want to see how to use the TOC thinking processes in new business areas.