The Goal: a process of Ongoing Improvement

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The Goal A Process of Ongoing - Eliyahu Goldratt

Other North River Press Books by
Eliyahu M. Goldratt 
The Race (with Robert E. Fox)
Theory of Constraints
The Haystack Syndrome
It’s Not Luck
Critical Chain
Necessary But Not Sufficient
Production the TOC Way
Essays on the Theory of Constraints
Late Night Discussions

Additional copies can be obtained from your
local bookstore or the publisher:
The North River Press
Publishing Corporation
P.O. Box 567
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(800) 486-2665 or (413) 528-0034
First Edition Copyright © 1984 Eliyahu M. Goldratt Revised Edition
Copyright © 1986 Eliyahu M. Goldratt Second revised Edition © 1992
Eliyahu M. Goldratt Third Revised Edition © 2004 Eliyahu M. Goldratt
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or any information storage retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publisher
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Goldratt, Eliyahu M., 1948-
The goal: a process of ongoing improvement
I. Cox, Jeff, 1951-. II. Title
PR9510.9.G64G61986 823 86-12566
ISBN: 0-88427-178-1

The Goal 
is about science and education. I believe that these two words
have been abused to the extent that their original meanings have been lost in
a fog of too much respect and mystery. Science for me, and for the vast
majority of respectable scientists, is not about the secrets of nature or even
about truths. Science is simply the method we use to try and postulate a
minimum set of assumptions that can explain, through a straightforward
logical derivation, the existence of many phenomena of nature.
The Law of Conservation of Energy of physics is not truth. It is just an
assumption that is valid in explaining a tremendous amount of natural
phenomena. Such an assumption can never be proven since even an infinite
number of phenomena that can be explained by it does not prove its universal
application. On the other hand, it can be disproved by just a single
phenomenon that cannot be explained by the assumption. This disproving
does not detract from the validity of the assumption. It just highlights the
need or even the existence of another assumption that is 
valid. This is
the case with the assumption of the conservation of energy which was
replaced by Einstein’s more global—more valid —postulation of the
conservation of energy and mass. Einstein’s assumption is not true to the
same extent that the previous one was not "true’’.
Somehow we have restricted the connotation of science to a very
selective, limited assemblage of natural phenomena. We refer to science
when we deal with physics, chemistry or biology. We should also realize that
there are many more phenomena of nature that do not fall into these
categories, for instance those phenomena we see in organizations, particularly
those in industrial organizations. If these phenomena are not phenomena of
nature, what are they? Do we want to place what we see in organizations to
the arena of fiction rather than into reality?
This book is an attempt to show that we can postulate a very small
number of assumptions and utilize them to explain a very large spectrum of
industrial phenomena. You the reader can judge whether or not the logic of

the book’s derivation from its assumptions to the phenomena we see daily in
our plants is so flawless that you call it common sense. Incidentally, common
sense is not so common and is the highest praise we give to a chain of logical
conclusions. If you do, you basically have taken science from the ivory tower
of academia and put it where it belongs, within the reach of every one of us
and made it applicable to what we see around us.
What I have attempted to show with this book is that no exceptional brain
power is needed to construct a new science or to expand on an existing one.
What is needed is just the courage to face inconsistencies and to avoid
running away from them just because "that’s the way it was always done’’. I
dared to interweave into the book a family life struggle, which I assume is
quite familiar to any manager who is to some extent obsessed with his work.
This was not done just to make the book more popular, but to highlight the
fact that we tend to disqualify many phenomena of nature as irrelevent as far
as science is concerned.
I have also attempted to show in the book the meaning of education. I
sincerely believe that the only way we can learn is through our deductive
process. Presenting us with final conclusions is not a way that we learn. At
best it is a way that we are trained. That’s why I tried to deliver the message
contained in the book in the Socratic way. Jonah, in spite of his knowledge of
the solutions, provoked Alex to derive them by supplying the question marks
instead of the exclamation marks. I believe that because of this method, you
the reader will deduce the answers well before Alex Rogo succeeds in doing
so. If you find the book entertaining maybe you will agree with me that this is
the way to educate, this is the way we should attempt to write our textbooks.
Our textbooks should not present us with a series of end results but rather a
plot that enables the reader to go through the deduction process himself. If I
succeed by this book to change somewhat your perception of science and
education, this is my true reward.

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