It’s rather rare that I write about books I’ve read or recommend, but this is an appropriate occasion. Gemba Press is now shipping Workplace Management, originally authored by Taiichi Ohno with this edition translated by fellow blogger Jon Miller.
Jon was nice enough to send me a pre-release copy of the book a few months ago, which I read while soaking up some rays on a deserted beach in Belize in late February. I had to apologize to Jon for returning a book to him that, in addition to some comments, was filled with sand.
My very first impression of the book, after reading perhaps 20 of the 140 pages, was that it was rather dry. But then something happened… I started to feel like Mr. Ohno was actually talking to me. You could really feel his wisdom and power, and at the risk of being lumped in with some of those folks that really have turned lean into a religion, I felt humbled by his words.
Corny? Perhaps. However I feel the same way when I’m lucky enough to talk to someone obviously more intelligent and driven than I am. My feelings are apparently not unique. Our friend Ron over at the Lean Six Sigma Academy blog had similar thoughts today. Like Ron I also had to read the book again, and again. Each time I dug up more nuggets of wisdom. The reading can be a little dry, a little unpolished, but it’s still better than most of the other translations of books from the original Japanese masters.
If you want a fairly quick read (although you’ll end up reading it multiple times) that puts you in almost direct contact with the original core concepts of lean, then order a copy of this book.
PS: We’ll try not to ding Jon for using batch manufacturing/printing for his book, which created some problems… even though the nice lean print-on-demand process we used for our book worked so well! Ok, that was a ding, but a friendly one!