It's Not Luck by Eliyahu Goldratt
I first read "It's Not Luck" when it was first published in 1994, I read it again a few years later and I have just finished reading it again and it remains an extremely disappointing book.
I loved "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt. It was an insightful business book which revealed simple and powerful ideas through a fast paced and engaging story. It brought the Theory of Constraints to the world and challenged some of the new ideas coming out to right the ills of 1980s/1990s accounting.
"It's Not Luck" is a pale shadow of it's famous predecessor.
And here's why.
First, this book is by Eli Goldratt and not Eli Goldratt and Jeff Cox. It is clear that Goldratt contributed the theory but Cox provided the compelling writing style which just kept you turning page after page.
I've told the story before but I bought The Goal on a Saturday morning, finished it Sunday night, gave it to my Operations Director on Monday morning and by 7:00 am Tuesday we were discussing how we could apply the ideas after he'd stopped up most of the night until he'd finished it.
That's how good The Goal is!
I comparison it has taken me about two months to read "It's Not Luck".
The story form is still there and it still focuses on the hero of The Goal, Alex Rogo who has since been promoted and has responsibility for three struggling businesses put up for sale by a group desperate to generate cash and strengthen their balance sheet.
Attention moves from operations to the market and why customers don't buy as it introduces the Theory of Constraints thinking processes.
The strength of The Goal was the ideas and the imagery (e.g. Herbie and the other scouts walking through the forest) were crystal clear. Easy to understand and to remember.
The Thinking Processes are more complicated and It's Not Luck is crying out for a text book style section which let's you go back and read up on the concept again if you don't understand before moving on. It's not there and there isn't even an index if you want to check the meaning of an "evaporating cloud" or a "future reality tree".
I suspect that the Thinking Processes are powerful - and I know some people swear by them - but the book doesn't give you enough guidance on how to apply them.
In "It's Not Luck", the story gets in the way of the business lessons while in "The Goal", the story made the ideas seem even more important and relevant.
This is the book which put me off The Theory Of Constraints combined with a bad consultancy experience. In my last six to nine months of employment back in the mid nineties, my firm employed an expensive TOC consultant to work with a small team. The results were disastrous as they sought to optimise around a constraint which with one management decision could disappear as it had done many times in the past. Instead our customer quoted lead times got pushed further and further back to the point where we were losing orders.
My Review Rating For It's Not Luck by Elihayu Goldratt
I have rated the book at the 3 star level which is below the 4 star recommended read/buy.
If you loved The Goal and you want to know more about the Theory Of Constraints and how the constraints can lie outside of your business, then "It's Not Luck" is worth a read, even if you may not be entirely satisfied.
If you have heard of the Theory Of Constraints and want to understand more, then start with The Goal. Even if you don't have a manufacturing business start with The Goal.
I am very surprised by the overall positive stance taken by reviewers of Amazon.com on "It's Not Luck". To date 43 reviews, 21 at five stars and 14 at four stars.
These reviewers are clearly finding much deeper content than I did.
I do wonder whether this is because The Goal attracted production/operations people and stuck it up accountants and finance people.
It's Not Luck goes further and dishes out criticism to Big Money and the financial markets and solves the "how to sell more " problem for overpaid and under-worked sales and marketing executives.
Just a thought.
Buying It's Not Luck
I don't think I'm wrong and I suspect that there are books which give more guidance on the Thinking Processes.
Take a look at the reviews and see if it appeals but if you haven't read The Goal, I urge you to start there.
Have You Read It's Not Luck?
If you have read "It's Not Luck", what did you think?
Do you agree with me that this book is over-rated or as some as the Amazon reviewers claim, it is even better than The Goal?