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Cheaper by the Dozen (Cheaper by the Dozen #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  27,473 Ratings  ·  1,521 Reviews
What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father -- a famous efficiency expert -- who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen.

Translated int
Hardcover, Large Print
Published December 31st 1993 by Wheeler Publishing (first published 1948)
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Read this book to meet the father and the rest of the Gilbreth family. A family with twelve kids! He is an efficiency expert designing machines and organizing tasks so time and in turn money can be saved. The Mom works alongside him as an industrial organizational psychologist. It is watching the family as a whole that is the attraction of the book. I guarantee you will laugh.

We are given a real family, albeit exceptional because of its size. They live in Montclair, New Jersey, Providence, Rhod
Rebecca Foster
Forget that wretched Steve Martin movie and read the charming original. Authored by two of the 12, this is the first of two memoirs about a large family’s madcap adventures. In tone it reminded me most of Gerald Durrell’s The Corfu Trilogy.

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were pioneers in the field of motion study, often hired as efficiency experts for industry – and they ran their home like a well-oiled machine too. Nevertheless, there was more than enough love and humor to go around. Frank was the k
I read this as a school assignment when I was in the sixth grade. I think it was first published in 1948. I have seen, within the last year, about a half hour of the old fifties-era movie of it, starring Clifton Webb as the beloved father. I have not seen the Steve Martin one. (If I'm not wrong, there's a second one with him, too.)
I grant that this extremely light memoir of family life in pre-World War One America paints an extremely rosy picture, but it is not unrealistic. There is room in this
Sarah Law
Jan 03, 2009 Sarah Law rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
HILARIOUS. An AWESOME story. Anyone who has a family, or wants to have a family, will love this book. Especially people with a lot of kids in their family (my mom) or very eccentric dads (me).

This is the true story of a family of twelve children, whose father is a motion study expert and believes that what applies to workers in a factory also applies to children at home, and vice versa.

Mykle and I are reading this together right now, and we cannot turn a page without him busting up laughing.

Sep 05, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yup, still as delightful as it was when I was a kid. Somehow I missed, back then, that Mother, too, was an engineer. And the bonus of re-reading it now is that I can go online and find out that the Time-Motion analyses were real, and even see some of the films and promotional pictures. My family values efficiency & economy to a very high degree, but we're pikers compared to Gilbreth. I would have loved to learn Morse code the way these kids did! Really too bad Dad died so young, but many men ...more
Lawrence A
Sep 30, 2007 Lawrence A rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Although this book was sold to me as a 7th-grader as a "heartwarming" memoir of children raised by an efficiency expert, I realized not too long thereafter that the book presented an insidious hidden agenda. In real life, the Gilbreth father was an acolyte of efficiency engineer Frederick "Speedy" Taylor (1856-1915), considered the founder of "the theory of scientific management." Taylorism, as it had come to be called, destroyed the craft underpinnings of much of the manufacturing industry in t ...more
Jan 22, 2011 Lolene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am currently rereading this book, and I still agree with the 5 stars I gave it earlier. Don't be misled by thinking the Steve Martin movie has anything to do with the original story. If I filled out a Venn diagram to compare/contrast the movie and the book, the middle section of shared traits would have ONE item: the title! Here's a brief overview from Wikipedia: "Cheaper by the Dozen is a biographical book written by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey that tells the story ...more
★★★★★ –I loved everything about this book – the plot line, the way the story flowed, the characters and their interactions with each other, the writing style – everything was perfect to keep me interested in the story and the characters. This is a definite keeper and re-reader.

It's about Frank and Lillie Gilbreth, pioneers in the science of motion study, and their 12 children. I thought it was wonderfully written and it made me laugh out loud several times. I love how the children interact with
Kellyn Roth
This is one of the more hilarious books ever! It's also an incredible history of an incredible family. The Gilbreths are absolutely incredible, and their stories are ridiculous to the point of unbelievability ... but they're true!

Mr. Gilbreth (Dad) is the best, but I really like Ernestine, too ... and Anne ... and Mrs. Gilbreth is pretty neat ... and everyone else. xD

I'm not going to try to list all the amazing stuff about this book ... you should read it yourself! :)

~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Revie
Jun 06, 2008 DeEllen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teaching Ideas From Cheaper by the Dozen
DeEllen Stowell

This book made me laugh and think all at the same time. I absolutely loved the conviction of the parents for teaching their own children. I thought my husband was accepting when I put huge pieces of paper up on the walls and drew out pictures of things we were going to learn, but to paint the walls??? The mother was very gracious to allow her home to be used in this manner. I imagine it was a fun time living in their home!

I also loved that
Sep 11, 2007 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was SO much better than the Steve Martin remake of the movie! I loved the book. The father is an efficiency expert and his attempts to make his family the most organized, smartest bunch of kids on the planet might have been terrible if he hadn't been such a lovable, larger-than-life man. Even though the events took place a hundred years ago (literally), the writing style is so lively and fresh, the story never feels dated. If you get a chance to read it, this book is hilarious.
Jamie Collins
I picked up an ebook copy of this old favorite, which I read so many times when I was a kid. I still have the fragile orange hardback, which I carefully read to my children when they were little. This is the only book which has ever made me want a large family; right now I’m feeling a little twinge of regret that I have only two children.

It’s a collection of anecdotes, really: rides in Foolish Carriage; visiting Mrs. Murphy; Victrolas playing French and German lessons at bath time ("unavoidable
Sep 20, 2007 Tory rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book based on a little, quiet, mediocre family. Oh OK, so it's not a LITTLE family. I don't want to surprise any first-time readers that there are 12 children, but I guess you'll find out soon enough. Well, in that case, it is not about a quiet family, either (since we're talking about 12 children here). And I might as well just tell you right now that it's also not about a mediocre family.

Honestly, it was fun book with many moments where I was laughing out loud. I admire the fam
Dec 05, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes older books
A truly charming and heartwarming book about the efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth, his wife, and their dozen children - written by two of the children (Frank Jr. and Ernestine).

This book was a massive best-seller back in its day. But as time passed, it went out of print and was forgotten and virtually unavailable for many years. I found a copy tucked onto a shelf at a rented vacation cabin on a lake in Maine; the shelves were simply packed with old books, including many issues of Reader's Digest
Aug 21, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O man, I still think about this just about every time I button a shirt. I believe it influenced my decision to avoid having a large family.

Y'know, it's interesting growing up in a town of 1100, with a mother who didn't buy many books because, after all, we did have a free library. Sure, I guess the adult section was well-enough stocked to keep her busy in the time she could spare from the three of us. But there are *so many* children's books I missed out on. And so many I read over and over aga
I'm not certain if I have read this before or not. The one thing I didn't remember/know is that it is a true story. The movie follows the book quite well. The chapters just had me laughing out loud. This is a true gem of a book.
Dec 15, 2015 Marieke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book. I can't imagine having twelve kids though.
Family life, background story of pioneering the field of efficiency enhancing motion studies of Frank & Lillian Gilbreth. Lillian Moller Gilbreth was an inventor, author, industrial engineer, industrial psychologist, and mother of twelve children. A pioneer in ergonomics, Gilbreth patented many kitchen appliances including an electric food mixer, shelves inside refrigerator doors, and the famous trash can with a foot-pedal lid-opener. Lillian Gilbreth is best known for her work to help worke ...more
Mar 16, 2017 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a family in a time gone by. I really enjoyed it and laughed out loud without realizing I was.
Dec 08, 2010 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2015 puppitypup rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Children's Not recommended

I remember reading this as a child and loving it, the idea of all those siblings seemed like so much fun.

But I'm afraid the shelf-life on this book has expired. Rereading it now, it made me feel uncomfortable. The father seems so controlling, the mother not quite in cahoots with him, but rarely standing up to him, and the blatant racism is hard to swallow.

That said, it is a rare glimpse into turn of the century family life in the years leading up to and immediately foll
Kanika Jain
Feb 05, 2015 Kanika Jain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A reading joy, from the first page to the last! The 'dozen' were the Gilbreth children and hilarious tales of their upbringing form this book. Their Dad was known to the world as a time-and-motion-study expert. How he applies those principles at home to control the not-so-unruly dozen makes it one amusing read..
Jan 24, 2009 Eowyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for a light and humorous read. I found myself telling my husband little snipits from the book and laughing definitely worth the read!
Oct 02, 2016 Katy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple and heartwarming memoir of a life in a 12 children family of two motion study experts written by two of the twelve.

Or, the real origin of the family meeting. :)
Nov 14, 2007 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this so many times I can't even count them. At this point, every other sentence is like running into a familiar and very welcome friend.
Amy Rae
On the whole, a fascinating look at life in a notoriously large family during the teens and 20s. Some things are decidedly dated--I got super sick of the use of "Eskimo" to mean "off-colour" or "distasteful"--but a lot of it is dated in an interesting way, especially the memories of 1920s teen culture. Gilbreth, Sr., comes off as a bit of a tyrant in places, pretty unsurprisingly, but I loved all the kids.

Reading it made me much more interested, admittedly, in reading the sequel, which features
Bridgette Redman
It is a rare book indeed that can be classified as equally and truly as a biography and as a humor book. Cheaper by the Dozen is one of those rarities.

Cheaper by the Dozen tells the true story of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and their rather large family. It is a charming tale told by two of the children—Ernestine and Frank Jr.

My introduction to this delightful book came through community theater where the play based upon the book is a staple for most groups. After all, how can one go wrong with a
I picked up this book almost on the last day of the previous year, just to make sure that I end the year a feel good book and if I can't finish it in the last two days of the year, I begin the year smiling.
A totally lovable book, as expected.
Having decided to have a dozen kids, Dad Gilbraith also decides how to raise them. Well he was strict but he had the sense of humour in the right place and the children though exasperated at times, enjoyed their childhood thoroughly and grew up as happy kids
Feb 27, 2017 Jessi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this book shares a title with a major motion picture, the book is far superior! And I say that as a huge Steve Martin fan!

I read this book aloud with my husband and we were in fits of laughter from start to finish! Recommending this book to anyone with more than one child or who grew up with siblings! With 14 members to choose from, you're bound to fall in love with at least one of the Gilbreth's.
This was a very fun book! Some of the stuff I can actually relate to because I grew up in a big family. I think it's something you can't really imagine unless you have lived it. But in many ways, their family sounds a lot more fun than ours! I love how lively and close-knit they are.

One thing that seemed a little strange to me is how they treat having a big family as so extraordinary. My mom grew up in a family of twelve and it definitely wasn't as extreme as portrayed here. I can name probably
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Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. (March 17, 1911 – February 18, 2001) was co-author, with his sister Ernestine, of Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes. Under his own name, he wrote Time Out for Happiness and Ancestors of the Dozen.

He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the 5th child (and first boy) of the 12 children born to efficiency experts Frank Gilbreth, Sr. and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, a
More about Frank B. Gilbreth Jr....

Other Books in the Series

Cheaper by the Dozen (2 books)
  • Belles on Their Toes

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“Dad himself used to tell a story about one time when Mother went off to fill a lecture engagement and left him in charge at home. When Mother returned, she asked him if everything had run smoothly.
Didn't have any trouble except with that one over there,' he replied. 'But a spanking brought him into line.'
Mother could handle any crisis without losing her composure.
That's not one of ours, dear,' she said. 'He belongs next door.”
“Dad took moving pictures of us children washing dishes, so that he could figure out how we could reduce our motions and thus hurry through the task. Irregular jobs, such as painting the back porch or removing a stump from the front lawn, were awarded on a low-bid basis. Each child who wanted extra pocket money submitted a sealed bid saying what he would do the job for. The lowest bidder got the contract.” 10 likes
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