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

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,486 Ratings  ·  1,397 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.

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Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published 1948)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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.

Lawrence A
Oct 15, 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
–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 each
Aug 03, 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
Jun 06, 2008 DeEllen rated it really liked it
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 14, 2007 Alison rated it really liked it
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.
May 14, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this book back in the olden days when I was maybe 12 or 13 ? A long time ago . Since I listen to audiobooks more frequently than I used to, I decided to give this one a listen to see how it was in audio ,and how it held up over the years .
The story is of a huge family of 12 kids , whose father has a job as an efficiency expert, trying to think of ways for companies to take less time to put out more work . He practices this on his family ,also . He sounded like a wonderful father that spe
Oct 02, 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
Oct 22, 2009 Peter rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2015 Marieke rated it really liked it
Fun book. I can't imagine having twelve kids though.
Dec 08, 2010 Sandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Kanika Jain
Feb 16, 2015 Kanika Jain rated it it was amazing
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..
Aug 18, 2014 Elizabeth rated it liked it
This is a fun one that the kids and I listened to on drives. We just finished it yesterday.

- Let's just get this fact out of the way: This is nothing at all like the movie (as is true with many classic books, i.e., Stuart Little, Mr Popper's Penguins, etc.).
- There is no plot line. It's a memoir, and as such is just a collection of experiences and memories. (fyi, I LOVE this type of book.)
- The stories are probably a bit exaggerated, but that can be a lot of fun anyway.
- The reason for the dock
Jul 17, 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
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.
Sep 04, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Saw this book on end of a library shelf display for “Family Good Time Reads”, thought about it as looking for a book with laughs. Grabbed it and so glad I did. The week before holidays really put you in a daze at work and a good laugh is really needed.

Not only did I learn in the preface this is an autobiography, there is a sequel and only two movies have been done, not sure but I thought three. So it was a learning experience also.

Back to the book, a great family read. Hilariously written you la
Jun 03, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: eight and up
I discovered after I read the book, that this story is true! If I had known, I would have listened more intently. Two of the twelve children write about their father in this very entertaining and endearing tribute. Some of of the episodes dragged a bit, but for the most part, I loved hearing about Frank Gilbreth's interaction and love for his wife and family. We listened to this in the car, and I especially enjoyed how Gilbreth's motion studies and demand for efficiency trickled down to my own c ...more
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
Jan 12, 2010 Sri rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir

Kalau ada yang menyangka bahwa menonton film Cheaper by the Dozen versi tahun 2003, dengan Steve Martin sebagai bapaknya, adalah cukup: kukatakan itu adalah SALAH besar. Film itu cuma mengambil kesamaan judul dan jumlah anak saja. Kalau mau nonton filmnya, yang harus dilihat adalah film dengan judul sama tapi yang dirilis pada tahun 1950. Hehe, entah masih ada di peredaran atau enggak :D.
Dan buku ini jauh lebih bagus daripada film tahun 2003 itu. Jauh lebih menginspirasi.
Pak Frank Gilbre
Louis B
Dec 20, 2009 Louis B rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7th-grade
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 18, 2013 Kat rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, humor, 2013
Basic Plot: Efficiency is key when you have 12 children in the house.

In a lot of ways, this story hides its age well. I can't imagine running a household with 12 children in it. I think I'd go mad. The father, an efficiency expert, is constantly trying to improve his family's quality of life through his expertise. The issues that arise due to the size of the family and their concerns are pretty timeless. Now, that's not to say that there aren't some dated moments in here, there's actually a smal
Bridgette Redman
Feb 02, 2012 Bridgette Redman rated it it was amazing
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
The Weasleys in the world of Harry Potter could very well have been inspired by the real-world Gilbreth family, the subject of the memoir Cheaper by the Dozen. They're both large, boisterous, red-headed families run by characters the likes of which we're unlikely to see in our own lifetimes. The Gilbreths, however, number fourteen rather than a mere nine, and while the matrons of the houses may reflect each other, the patrons are remarkably dissimilar.

Frank Gilbreth, Sr., portly father and profe
Nov 13, 2014 tinabel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a word: hilarious. The intro started off a bit rocky, but once it got going, I was laughing out loud and thoroughly enjoying this biography of one of the most interesting, ingenious (and yet, little-known) men of the 20th century.

But, Cheaper by the Dozen isn't really just about one man and his work, it's about his whole family and how he succeeded in passing down his knowledge to his children by putting his time management theories into practice in everyday life (from shaving time off shavi
Feb 18, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, nonfiction, 2015
An absolutely delightful read! This is just the thing to relax with in this day and age of stress, rushing and multi-tasking. It brought back a lifestyle from the turn of the century which was made up of family interactions, innocent games, and honest people.

The real family power house was the father and he spent time and effort with each and every child he had to teach them and direct them onto the right pathway in life.

This was a joy to read.
George Matysek
Aug 15, 2014 George Matysek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to George by: Treasa
My sister-in-law gave me this classic memoir as a birthday present two years ago. Thanks to the cajoling of my wife and mother-in-law, I finally got around to reading it while on a six-hour train ride. I wish I would have read it sooner, by jingo!

'Cheaper by the Dozen' is a charming story, filled with funny and touching sketches of a loving father and mother raising 12 children.

Thank you for this wonderful gift, Shai! I'm sure I will read it again.
Feb 10, 2010 Doris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Doris by: No one - found it in the biographies
I read this book many times when I was in Junior High (aka Middle School) and loved it. I also enjoyed its follow-up, Belles on Their Toes, which follows the clan after the death of the patriarch.

Cheaper by the Dozen follows a couple as they meet, marry and start a family, blithely assuming that it will be fine to have a dozen children, because "everything is cheaper by the dozen". It isn't but they don't learn that until later.

There are many hard times for the family, with stern father presidi
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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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