The Choice by Eliyahu M. Goldratt (was called Inherent Simplicity)
PUBLICATION DATE: OCTOBER 2008 – Theory of Constraints has been successfully applied in almost every area of human endeavor, from industry to healthcare to education. And while Eli Goldratt is indeed a scientist, an educator and a business leader, he is first and foremost a philosopher; some say a genius.
He is a thinker who provokes others to do the same. Often characterized as unconventional, and always stimulating—a slayer of sacred cows— Dr. Goldratt exhorts his readers to examine and reassess their lives and business practices by cultivating a different perspective and a clear new vision.
In his latest book, The Choice, Goldratt once again presents his thought provoking approach, this time through a conversation with his daughter Efrat, as he explains to her his fundamental system of beliefs.
Prologue of The Choice by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Father and I are sitting in the backyard. It’s a beautiful winter morning; one of those days that belong to the spring. He has a cup of coffee in his hand and his pipe is handy. I’m stretched out on a comfy garden lounge chair with nothing in my hands, unlike him I don’t need caffeine or nicotine to keep me going.
Today I’m determined to squeeze from father the essence of thinking clearly. I’ve succeeded in dragging him out of his study, not a small achievement. I’ve disconnected all the phones in the house and I’ve even turned off my cell, father doesn’t have one. Mother and her sister have gone to south Tel-Aviv and my kids are in school. I will have three uninterrupted hours. That should be enough; at least for a start.
“Father,” I say, “let me tell you what I accept, and what is still bothering me.”
He stares at the dance of the sunspots below the trees, probably thinking about something else. That’s okay. As I proceed I’ll draw his attention, I am talking about things that are at the center of his life and I’m his favorite daughter, his only daughter.
“I fully agree that I don’t want an easy life – I want a full life. I also accept that in order to live a full life I have to have enough good opportunities and I need to advance some of these opportunities to a level that I’ll feel I have made significant achievements.”
He doesn’t react but that doesn’t slow me down. “By watching and listening to you I think I’m convinced that rather than leaving it to chance – to what people call good luck – my chances of living a full life will be much greater if I learn to think clearly. I’ll be able to generate, or at least to recognize, the right opportunities for me and I’ll be better able and have more stamina to persistently follow enough of them to fruition.”
I still don’t get any sign of interest. “You claim that the only things standing in the way of me thinking clearly are some specific obstacles.”
“Obstacles and practice. A lot of practice.”
At last, some reaction. A little provocation is in place to get this discussion rolling. In a slightly stronger tone I say, “That is exactly my problem. You say that to think clearly, to think like a true scientist, a lot of practice is needed. I think that I am thinking constantly, whether I’m conscious of it or not. But that is apparently not what you mean by practice, so will you please tell me how one practices thinking clearly?”
Foreword of The Choice by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Eli Goldratt is probably best known by his millions of readers as a business guru. Those who know him a little better may think of him as a scientist and an educator, and to some he is a genius, a classification he vehemently denies. To me he is all that and, of course, much more. I have been Eli’s publisher, editor and friend for over twenty-five years.
Early on I was aware that Eli is actually on a quest to demonstrate that the approach and methods of the hard sciences can and should be applied to the social sciences. He initially targeted management science, claiming that since in that branch of the social sciences results are measurable, people find it harder to dispute the superiority of using the hard science techniques. It was fascinating to see how gradually the business world accepted Eli’s work in spite of the fact that so much of it is a drastic departure from tradition. His Theory of Constraints (TOC) is now taught at almost every business school and MBA program and has been used by thousands of companies and government agencies worldwide. TOC has been successfully applied in almost every area of human endeavor, from industry to health care to education.
Unlike his readers, I have had the opportunity to see Eli in action. Together we struggled in an industry— the publishing industry—that views itself as so unique that its self-imposed limitations are almost written in stone. As of this writing we have published nine books together; books that have been translated into twenty seven languages, and sold many millions of copies. We have had tremendous success, outselling many bestsellers by far and keeping an undiminished market for our books. Eli’s first book, The Goal, sells as many copies per year now as it did twenty years ago. Taking into account the millions of used copies available, this is a remarkable feat. Of course we made mistakes along the way, but each mistake led to new thought, new approaches, new ways, which in turn led to more success.
What I realized through that struggle is that Eli has developed much more than he was writing about. I became convinced that he developed a pragmatic life philosophy that guides not just his writing but also all his conduct. It’s no wonder that I started to press him to share, in writing, his unique approach. For years, actually decades, he declined, claiming that he was not yet ready. At last I prevailed. This book is the result. I hope you enjoy and benefit from it as much as I do.
The North River Press