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The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time
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The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  829 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Discover the power of KAIZEN to make lasting and powerful change in your organization

"Maurer uses his knowledge of the brain and human psychology to show what I have promoted for the past three decades--that continuous improvement is built on the foundation of people courageously using their creativity. Kaizen is much more than a world-class management practice; it is a te
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published October 11th 2012)
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Maciej Nowicki
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Spirit of Kaizen talks about the continuous improvement process. Generally speaking, it’s about taking many tiny steps over an extended period of time which lead to huge results. It is more than Six Sigma where some companies may have conducted improvement projects a few months ago and now they might take it easy thinking maybe in a couple of months from now we are going to take a look at something new. Kaizen is self-discipline and the commitment that everybody has to present. So as soon as ...more
Bob Wallner
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lean, change, audible
I don't often give 5 stars to a book, but spirit of Kaizen definitely deserves that grade.

When I purchased this audiobook I was assuming it would be another lean book that reviews the 8 waste, making dramatic changes, and other things closely associated with Toyota production system.

How wrong I was! This book is 1 part psychology, 1 part neuroscience, and 1 part common sense. Other than a couple small examples Toyota production system and lean are not even discussed. Dr Deming is credited with b
George Girton
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Short: loads of fun :-). Several really great ideas. Chief among them the human mind cannot avoid considering the question once posed, no matter how small. It is not necessary to answer the question but merely to put it out there.o
Kevin Patton
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While brainstorming and searching online for a better approach to achieve my goals this year, I stumbled upon the Japanese word Kaizen. It’s a simple concept that we’ve all heard before - taking many small steps over an extended period of time leads to big results. Ever since discovering this word, I have been making a conscious effort to incorporate this approach while trying to create a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. This book is perfect for anyone looking for a quick read that will ...more
Vlad Otrocol
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
The book is really good, it resonates with atomic habits. I already knew about the kaizen concept even started practicing it a bit, but the book really makes you understand the importance of it and inspires trust in the method. It convinces you that a lot of the times small improvements are faster and more reliable in the long term than big changes. Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon. ...more
Kevin Orth
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a fan of big, huge, in your face, larger than life. This book affirms my bias for smaller, quieter, incremental, bite size adjustment, change, and improvement.

Tremendous, earth shattering, ground breaking, mountain moving improvement is possible - the way we get there is one small step at a time. We are more assured success in our big initiatives when we focus on the means, small details along the way, and make changes in tiny increments.
Marco Barreiros
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A book that really shows you how important are the small things, because even the longest run starts with just one first step.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to the essence of Kaizen.
James Thompson
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has the distinction of being the only book I have ever purchased 5 different times.

As a creative professional, I was introduced to the agile methodology through what is called SCRUM. I despised it, and pretty much everything about it as a very narrow sited solution to a very particular group of professionals of which I was not. However, it was my current companies mandate, that we transition to SCRUM. I looked and looked for books that could help me understand my place. The Spirit of
Michael Kerr
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning "good change" is a business concept centred on continual positive improvement. The genius is that the change being talked about is small, incremental, and non-threatening. Big change triggers panic or fear and leads to paralysis. It's hard to get an organization or individual on-board for a big frightening change. Kaizen, by contrast, focuses on the tiny step in the right direction. And it is surprising where those tiny steps can lead.

This is a business book, and
Gavin Morrice
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is aimed at managers and business execs but anyone can benefit from applying the practice described inside.

It teaches a rational, scientific approach to solving problems by:

- breaking them down into smaller, more manageable chunks
- training the brain to start thinking of solutions by asking the right kind of questions
- allowing us to stay creative, simply by reducing the stress that inherently blocks creative thought

Will definitely read again!
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One small step... The idea of making very small changes to have a LARGE impact is empowering to me. I listened to it twice before it was due. I believe the Tipping Point will have a similar bend. Looking forward to listening to it soon.
Forest Collins
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The premise behind the Spirit of Kaizen is not new. Basically, the idea is that small actions, done regularly, can have large consequences. You know: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"

But Kaizen goes further than just reaffirming the idea that large achievements are made up of a lot of small actions. Maurer opines that it is, in fact, better to take small, manageable steps towards larger goals to prevent our fear factor from impeding our progress. He doesn't just talk theoretic
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good book. The main thrust of it is that revolutionary change can come about as a direct result of miniscule incremental change, both at work and in our personal lives. That's basically it. That's Kaizen in a nutshell. The title isn't lying. The book could have been much shorter.

With that said, there were some interesting things here. I'm always interested when I see content overlap coming from disparate areas. So, I guess many books I read fall under the general heading of human performance, b
Li Li
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a very quick read. Most of the concepts are not net new. The one I learnt is around mind sculpture, derived from guided imagination. Mainly it's visualization.

When you need to make a change, there are two basic strategies you can use: innovation and kaizen. Innovation calls for a radical, immediate rethink of the status quo. Kaizen, on the other hand, asks for nothing other than small, doable steps toward improvement.

Dealing with difficult people - Thinking of the person as suffering fro
Alexandria Blaelock
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to improve slowly
You can have big scary innovative change, or you can have good change (kaizen) which is a change so small it sneaks past your flight/flight trigger. In fact, sometimes the step is so small it's just imagining a difference. And then you move on to the next small change, and then over time, you've accumulated a big change. Like continuous improvement only different.

The book is aimed at managers, but the technique of asking "What one small thing can I do today..." can be applied to small business
Chris Weatherburn
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
It's really short. Although the points that are made are topical, it's a bit superficial. A few examples about eating and working out were memorable, but not much else. It also says very, very little about kaizen in organisations, it's mostly about improvements in personal life/success with a few passing mentions of organisational change, which interests me much more. So I guess you can skip this if you want to understand Kaizen better as a whole. ...more
Niket Sheth
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very good book. A must read for anyone who is stuck in business or personal life. This book tends more towards a business solution book than a personal guidance self help book. It takes all the concepts and gives timely examples. Although the solution and the steps provided to follow seem too little or too small for a huge change, this thing works on an psychological level and makes you think differently. A good breezy read. Recommended.
Tina Ann Nguyen
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Small steps

This book should be required reading in leadership classes. If you lead a business or are looking to boost morale and performance, then this book is for you. Often times we equate big programs with success, but it’s the little steps that add up and will get buy in from your group.
Sep 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Few anectodes on how author managed to increase productivity and overall basic mental health of clients by telling female CO's to smile more and ask their staff about their weekend.

Yes, do teach peoplepeople to be kind to others, but stop wrapping it around kaizen philosophy.

TL;DR Small steps. That's it, saved you a read.
Victoria Ichizli-Bartels
Both books by Robert Maurer on kaizen are simply brilliant. This one is directed toward team leaders and managers. It is also brilliant for entrepreneurs and project managers of any kind. By reading this book, you will also get many insights into the personal application of kaizen. It's very much worth reading and rereading. ...more
Ciarán Murray
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I was somewhat familiar with Kaizen through working in the automotive industry (Kaizen is used a lot in 6 sigma). Very interesting.
Shows how you don't need to change everything at once, focus on smaller tasks and work from there.
A lot of similarities to the power of habit
Would recommend
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book grabbed the main idea of doing things in very small increments and slowly is much more effective than doing a huge innovation. That correlated a lot with a lot of my other readings, specially with the learning from Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence ;)
Daniel Schulte
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
These are good concepts that I think a lot of people could benefit from, but the entire book was just anecdotal. I really expect more studies and numbers to convince me that this is something everyone should be doing.
Alex Vasilenko
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self
The book could have been minimized to 1 article. In general someone might find it very interesting and opening. For me it was like "yay, 1 step at a time, I got it". Everything else was mostly a water. ...more
Was looking for an intro to Kaizen, and found this very practical guide written by a psychologist. Will definitely be using some of the takeaways and suggestions given, even if, of course, not all of it was relevant.
P Michael N
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simple and straightforward approach to improving anything. The steps outlined are deceptively simple and powerful. The book has lots of examples drawn from business and life situations that make it readily applicable. Will give this a whirl.
Verenice Flores
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
It had good ideas but I feel that it could've been shorter. It didn't need as many examples. It also focused a lot on how kaizen can be applied in a business setting. If you're not a manager or running a business then there's not a lot of useful information. ...more
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Although it is a short book, it could have been condensed further; there are a lot of repetitive points on Kaizen.
The first book "One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way" was better than this one since it was more detailed & contained all the concepts which are mentioned in this book.
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