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Beyond the Goal: Eliyahu Goldratt Speaks on the Theory of Constraints

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The author of the bestselling "The Goal" offers insights into the theories--including the Theory of Constraints--that have captivated business people around the world. Unabridged. 8 CDs.

Audio CD

First published September 1, 2005

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About the author

Eliyahu M. Goldratt

63 books616 followers
Eliyahu M. Goldratt was an educator, author, physicist, philosopher and business leader, but first and foremost, he was a thinker who provoked others to think. Often characterized as unconventional, stimulating, and “a slayer of sacred cows,” he urged his audience to examine and reassess their business practices with a fresh, new vision.

Dr. Goldratt is best known as the father of the Theory of Constraints (TOC), a process of ongoing improvement that identifies and leverages a system’s constraints in order to achieve the system’s goals. He introduced TOC’s underlying concepts in his business novel, The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, which has been recognized as one of the best-selling business books of all time. First published in 1984, The Goal has been updated three times and sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. It has been translated into 35 languages.

Heralded as a “guru to industry” by Fortune magazine and “a genius” by Business Week, Dr. Goldratt continued to advance the TOC body of knowledge throughout his life, building on the Five Focusing Steps (the process of ongoing improvement, known as POOGI) with TOC-derived tools such as Drum-Buffer-Rope, Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) and the Thinking Processes. He authored ten other TOC-related books, including four business novels: It’s Not Luck (the sequel to The Goal), Critical Chain, Necessary but Not Sufficient and Isn’t It Obvious? His last book, The Choice, was co-authored by his daughter Efrat Ashlang-Goldratt.

Born in Israel on March 31, 1947, Dr. Goldratt earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Tel Aviv University and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy from Bar-Ilan University. He is the founder of TOC for Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing TOC Thinking and TOC tools to teachers and their students, and Goldratt Consulting. In addition to his pioneering work in business management and education, Dr. Goldratt holds patents in a number of areas ranging from medical devices to drip irrigation to temperature sensors. He died on June 11, 2011, at the age of 64.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 46 reviews
Profile Image for Tjen Wellens.
30 reviews
September 20, 2019
This audiobook is just brilliant.
The mental model about limitations alone is worth listening to it.

""Technology can only bring benefits if and only if it diminishes a limitation."
And that you have to abolish the old rules that helped you cope with that limitation, or you won't benefit from it.

That's just a small part of it.
Profile Image for Bjoern Rochel.
377 reviews71 followers
September 12, 2015
I listened to the audio book from audible. It's basically a recording of a series of lectures Goldratt must have given somewhere in the early 200x. I've read 'The Goal' before and expected some more insights into the process of uncovering the constraints.

I was a bit taken back by the way Goldratt presents the content. Sometimes sarcastic, sometimes aggressive. Other times it even sounds as if frustration is shining trough. I'm also a bit skeptical about the claim that he has found the silver bullets. Pretty bold statements and in general not something that leaves me with a great feeling when I encounter such people.

The part about throughput accounting was interesting though, as well as the part about the more goal oriented accounting approach for working with contractors. Not sure if the latter can be really done in reality but I very much like the idea.

I didn't get more insights on the idea of 'reality trees' and the techniques around those and will probably have to scavenge other books from for that.
Profile Image for Shhhhh Ahhhhh.
781 reviews21 followers
March 18, 2019
I came to the review page expecting a rating and a review that I would have to write under only to find that I evidently read this before I made rating and reviewing a mandatory step in my reading process.

There are a few takeaways from this on a second read and keeping in mind that this represents novel developments from the other works in existence. Goldratt has continued the process of ongoing learning in his own work. We got the other TOC books (not Critical Chain, etc but the ones that revisit the same work in The Goal) because he realized that while the narrative was necessary to keep people reading it, it was insufficient at teaching the method. In observing the case studies in application of the ideas from all of the TOC subdisciplines, the discovery made was that the application of the ideas isn't the problem. People applying the ides have generated a bank of solutions and made the entire landscape of problems in the various context-appropriate areas (production even if it's not called production, project even if it's not called project, etc) visible and simple. The problems are that people aren't applying the ideas and that when applied, will not see the results that they can possibly achieve due to adherence to rules created based on the bottlenecks being resolved by the thinking processes. Goldratt also elucidates that the terminology is different in different industrial contexts but the processes, and thus the UDEs, are exactly the same. In medicine, they have a production model but the WIP is people, and bottlenecks don't create scrap. This invites us to consider the larger applications of TOC outside of the areas already explicitly covered in the books, including the Handbook (which only includes a limited amount of information on other fields like Education). Importantly, he reinforces some central points from TOC and the theoretical basis for everything. The first of which is that the fundamental aspect of TOC is that it treats what we view as multivariate multi-problem environments as cases of mistaken analysis. Through TOC, we view these as problems that only appear to be distinct and have different causes because of our limited interpretations. Breaking the cloud is a systematic way of breaking that assumption and arriving at the core problem, the solution of which resolves all derivatives. This leads us directly to one of the main conclusions of TOC, which is that optimizing anywhere that isn't the bottleneck is fundamentally counterproductive and not a solution at all. If it doesn't serve the biggest goal, which for a company is always 'to make money now and in the future', then it is not really useful. If it doesn't impact the bottleneck, we're just exacerbating the UDEs. Goldratt points out that this entire perspective is a first-principles derivation from understandings of certain core concepts in physics, as opposed to other disciplines, such as problem, complexity, and the contradiction. Complexity is defined differently in that physics measures complexity by the number of levers you need to push to impact the entire system. Problem is defined as an unresolved conflict (as explicitly juxtaposed with 'something you don't like'). Contradiction is defined as a non-existent issue of analysis. There are no contradictions from the TOC view (or the physics view) but rather errors in parsing reality, poor assumptions. One of the things Goldratt is funny about, and this is ironic considering his stance on the social sciences, is that he has a ton of unstated assumptions/ conclusions about humans. For example, he says that metrics necessarily drive behavior. While this is true, he doesn't tie it in as a first-principles derivation. He just leaves it as an observation of organizational psych (somewhat forgivable considering he's saying he won't go over concepts that have a wealth of work on them already, like Deming). In any event, between those differences in ideas/ terminology, his unstated assumptions about metrics and systems impacting human performance and his contention that everyone is used to working using evolutionary (incremental) processes rather than revolutionary (big lever, big impact) processes, all of the various thinking processes and tools can be directly derived. Goldratt also goes through lengths to identify archetypal obstacles to the change process. He identifies 2 main people. The first is the impatient charismatic leader who can derail the change process, which is necessarily granular and lengthy. The second is the conservative who has lived through other change processes and views them as ultimately a waste of time. Goldratt proposes covering broad swaths of interesting material to keep the first kind engaged and making sure to identify the core problem, make sure everyone is clear on how this change will solve it, and to reach true consensus (which takes the form of everyone vocally working through why they think the core problem is the core problem and how it manifests in their area). This consensus creates the necessary mindset of both group cooperation towards the same shared objective for the company and individual area ownership. On metrics, Goldratt specifies that using a bunch of metrics is poor management for a few reasons. The first is that it sets up impossible standards against which an employee has to make judgement calls about which standard to fail to meet, rather than having the ability to meet the few true standards upon which their production should be appraised, which also creates opportunities for management to be predatory in reviewing employees. The second is that it motivates poor performance. Rather than working on what they actually need to, these metrics can force inefficient work habits. For example, measuring people based on man-hours causes people to take as long as possible on projects. This is a similar effect to what happens if you convert estimates for completion into due dates. People's behavior negatively impacts the project resources/ timeline/ status in an attempt to meet deadlines which can impact their job security. In discussing this, Goldratt reveals one of his heuristics for acceptance of an idea, which is that it is simple and pervasive enough to already have a word associated with it. The 2 measures that Goldratt advocates using in evaluating employee performance to goal fit this description, and are whether you did things that you weren't supposed to do, Effectiveness, and whether you failed to do things you were supposed to do, Reliability. Wasting time, energy and other resources doing things that do not contribute to the goal makes you ineffective. Failing to do the things you're supposed to do makes you unreliable. Both make things more difficult for you and others you work with and can cost business and relationships. These are the 2 metrics that employees already use when evaluating which strategy to employ in the face of a constrained situation. For example, in the case of estimates converted to deadlines, employees see that their reliability can be called into question if they state their most probable deadline and fail to meet it but that their effectiveness will be questioned if they give themselves enough buffer to definitely finish the work but then get it back to the requester earlier than expected. So, the behavior this set of constraints generates is that people give the maximum allocation of buffered time to their section of a project and then use every bit of it to appear maximally effective and reliable.

Where I take issue, and this is probably just my unfamiliarity with applications, is that he says that the process needs to be an 8 day process to work through each of the tools, from the current reality tree to breaking the cloud to implementation, and identifies the most important part of the process at happening outside of the conference space and when they go get drinks afterward. That strikes me as basically wrong, but I think that maybe it's because I'm failing to account for Goldratt's observations on the processing time each individual requires apart from the group. I just feel strongly that we can do better than that and due to the fact that he didn't do a first-principles derivation on the subject, which is entirely possible, I believe we can build on the work in that weak spot.

Profile Image for Chris Austin.
65 reviews6 followers
January 19, 2022
If I listened to this when it first came out I would give it 4 stars for being influential and expanding on the ideas in The Goal, but not 5 stars because he is arrogant, abrasive, and sarcastic, along with what seemed like a dig at Deming early on - though he seemed to shift towards a more positive view of Deming later on.

There are still some good notes here, though it's a bit dated and there are now more books that expand on these ideas. The sections on aligning supplier pay with consumer outcomes is captured in B4B with a bit more nuance. Applying ToC to product development and project management is useful, but I prefer The Principles of Product Development Flow, which includes far more detail and is more rigorous. I need a solid ToC book that's not written as a novel or recorded as a rant.

The main reason I like this and The Goal is that it focuses on challenging the underlying beliefs that shape the way you make decisions. This is similar to the difference between How to Win Friends and Influence People and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The first focuses on techniques and ways to avoid alienating people accidentally, while 7 habits focuses on the underlying beliefs you have about people that are causing those harmful actions. Both are useful - concrete steps are easier to apply, but fixing the way you think about problems is also critical.

Profile Image for Benji.
67 reviews
May 13, 2023
Lectures by Goldratt which supplement his novel The Goal (which I haven't read).

Provocative. Lots of very interesting ideas. Some seem very innovative which is a strange thing to say about something that was released almost 20 years ago. I'm skeptical that some of these would work in practice (e.g. some require unprecedented levels of trust and information sharing between suppliers and providers), but others can be implemented and would likely drive positive outcomes. I liked his ideas on throughput accounting. Commentary on project management was insightful too (diagnozing that Gant charts fail because individuals don't want to appear to have overestimated how much time was needed and because the probability distribution of delivery time is an asymmetric bell curve with a long tail which single figure estimates can't capture). Lots of other great ideas around throughput, lead times, global vs local optimization, org structure (responsibility misaligned with authority), constraints and individual psychology that often works against optimization and transformation.

As a speaker he is quite a character! Very excitable, he claims he is literally offering silver bullets and is incredibly confident (some might say arrogant!). Personally I found him entertaining rather than abbrassive and I take what he says with a pinch of salt but YMMV.

Overall I think this is flawed, but was thought-provoking enough that I got a lot of it.
Profile Image for Bob Wallner.
356 reviews32 followers
August 10, 2019
This interview with Dr. Goldratt has sat on my audible queue for close to 4 years. I have started listening to it on several occasions and stopped. It challenged my thinking and I don't believe I was ready for that, until now.

Dr. Goldratt is a genius there is no doubt. Although known as a physicis and father of TOC, Dr. Goldratt is more than that. He is a philosopher! His book, The Goal, he tells the story of how TOC can save a plant. In Beyond the Goal he discusses, in a lecture format, many of the basic philosophies that he challenged to make TOC successful.

This audio program goes an inch deep and a mile wide on many of his topics. These not only include TOC, but also include Evaporating Cloud and Critical Chain.

This is a good program to understand the logic behind his systems, but it doesn't provide a lot of actionable items. My guess is, based how Jonah was portrayed in the Goal, this might be intentional.

It is a good listen that made me challenge my current beliefs.
Profile Image for Jason Nash.
21 reviews
October 2, 2018
If you have read The Goal which is more like a story then your usual business book and found it too focused on a story. This might be a better fit such a great book and so amazing that few business leaders understand the theory... its counter-intuitive in many respects. An audio program that really highlights and challenges your fundamental assumptions. The accent can be hard for some people especially if your listening in a car. You need to think whilst your listening to this it can not just wash over you...
Profile Image for Vlad Ardelean.
135 reviews25 followers
August 9, 2020
Short, plenty of good ideas, but the author seems to defeat his own ideas and for me, the confidence of the author is slightly irritating.

A few ideas that stuck:
To make the engineers efficient, you should give them as much work as possible.
To make sales efficient, give less work to the engineers, so they can assist the sales people. (queueing theory - after around 50% of of the engineer's time is scheduled, lead times start increasing exponentially. When around 80% of the engineers' time is scheduled, lead times start getting enormous, so the company can't be reactive effectively)
Profile Image for Darius Daruvalla-riccio.
148 reviews6 followers
January 30, 2022
Gives an overview of the Theory of Constraints and its different applications. This includes production management from "The Goal", selling reliability from "It's not luck" and project management from "Critical Chain". If you haven't read the books it can give you and overview/introduction and if you have read the books it can give a refresher.

It does also include a discussion about ERP (or any IT management system), their failure to fix all the problems of the past and why this is so. This helps to give context as to why TOC is needed but not used in a lot of work environments.
Profile Image for Fermibot.
46 reviews1 follower
December 6, 2022
This one might be good material as a video lecture. Unfortunately, I did not understand what diagrams Dr. Goldratt was referring to. My imagined diagrams could be correct or incorrect. Funny enough, I was struggling with a programming issue for over a month and I applied the theory of constraints to solve it in within an hour. Amazing concepts (though they are very abstract and can seem boring).

I recommend "The Goal" and "Beyond the Goal" for all my want to be entrepreneur friends.
Profile Image for Jack Vinson.
740 reviews39 followers
August 6, 2018
Another book from Eli Goldratt - well this time it is about 5 hours of audio from a lecture series where he presents his thinking 20 years after the publication of The Goal. Why does it work? What challenges prevent it from catching on? How would he approach it now? (published in ~2003).

More details in my blog review: https://www.jackvinson.com/blog/2018/...
May 8, 2019
Key concepts from the original book 'The Goal' are updated with respect to Enterprise Software. While dated, many of the concepts remain breakthrough approaches at many organisations e.g. Changing Organisations to be able to implement TOC e.g. understanding that the new software is not enough, the business must change the way they do things to reap the rewards
Profile Image for Edoardo.
9 reviews
October 9, 2020
All the ideas of Goldratt clearly exposed in a incredibly short time (some hours).

Brilliant, inspiring, if you happen to face resistance to change in a technological environment, this book is for you.

Uses a frontal lesson approach but it's so dense of content you will need to take notes (lot of notes).
Profile Image for Daniel Olshansky.
86 reviews8 followers
May 9, 2021
Eliyahu provides an actionable approach, with real-life examples on how to build a business. He lays everything out clearly, concisely, and I love the Israeli chutzpah to present things as they are without beating around the bush.

Absolutely loved it, and is one of the few books I plan to relisten to within the next year.

Full review coming soon!
Profile Image for Piet van Dongen.
52 reviews
September 16, 2021
Very entertaining and also very informative. Goldratt is very skilled in explaining complicated things simply. Although a bit dated, I find the information to be relevant to my profession, so I recommend this to anyone that wants to understand Theory of Constraints and the lasting impact Goldratt has on the DevOps movement.
Profile Image for Natalie Stark.
6 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2018
Unabridged and unfiltered Goldratt in a lecture series. I love the candor and passion he embodies. His theories are solid and his experiences are exceptional. Remarkable lecture series peppered with actionable insights.
Profile Image for Niels Philbert.
137 reviews7 followers
October 8, 2018
I listened to the audio version of this, and found it an interesting insight into how passionate Mr. Goldratt was about his theory (TOC). You can really hear it in his voice. That's a great addition to his business novels. So this an add-on that you will enjoy if you like his way of thinking.
Profile Image for Roel Stalman.
3 reviews
March 7, 2020
Good follow up to his incredible business novel "The Goal". Goldratt's passion for TOC is clear and palatable. Beyond the Goal is a great opportunity to absorb some of his vast TOC implementation experience.
Profile Image for Barry Linetsky.
Author 7 books1 follower
June 15, 2022
This is an audiobook. It is important to hear Goldratt's own voice expressing his observations and teaching how managers can do a better job understanding business and deriving solutions in a logical and systematic fashion to challenging business problems.
Profile Image for Ana.
11 reviews1 follower
September 26, 2023
Great book, gives you a lot to think about. I’ve heard it as a seminar by Dr. Eliyahu himself and was amazing to hear him explain the thinking of the theories and why it works.
Totally recommend. I am just missing a little more into the actual application… but he explains things really well
Profile Image for Linda Vituma.
510 reviews
May 11, 2017
Ja vien man pietiktu prāta un meistarības realizēt grāmatā aprakstīto! Meistarīgi un efektīvi. Par to, kā vairot labo / pievienot vērtību darot savu darbu. Jeb kuru darbu.
Profile Image for Nikolay Theosom.
169 reviews6 followers
July 23, 2019
kinda interesting, but it's mostly his self absorbed ranting about this previous book, which gets tiring at some point
Profile Image for Ciprian Dobre-Trifan.
Author 2 books7 followers
December 8, 2019
Nice work on bringing The Goal into real world concrete examples and tracing a path of logic and insights beyond production to management, marketing, sales, supply chains, software and integrators.
Profile Image for Gustav Bertram.
34 reviews9 followers
January 18, 2020
Takes the implicit lessons from The Goal and Goldratt's other books, and makes them explicit. Highly recommended.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 46 reviews

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