Eli Goldratt is probably best known by his millions of readers as a business guru. Those who know him a little better may think of him as a scientist and an educator, and to some he is a genius, a classification he vehemently denies. To me he is all that and, of course, much more. I have been Eli’s publisher, editor and friend for over twenty-five years.
Early on I was aware that Eli is actually on a quest to demonstrate that the approach and methods of the hard sciences can and should be applied to the social sciences. He initially targeted management science, claiming that since in that branch of the social sciences results are measurable, people find it harder to dispute the superiority of using the hard science techniques. It was fascinating to see how gradually the business world accepted Eli’s work in spite of the fact that so much of it is a drastic departure from tradition. His Theory of Constraints (TOC) is now taught at almost every business school and MBA program and has been used by thousands of companies and government agencies worldwide. TOC has been successfully applied in almost every area of human endeavor, from industry to health care to education.
Unlike his readers, I have had the opportunity to see Eli in action. Together we struggled in an industry—the publishing industry—that views itself as so unique that its self-imposed limitations are almost written in stone. As of this writing we have published nine books together; books that have been translated into twenty-seven languages, and sold many millions of copies. We have had tremendous success, outselling many bestsellers by far and keeping an undiminished market for our books. Eli’s first book, The Goal, sells as many copies per year now as it did twenty years ago. Taking into account the millions of used copies available, this is a remarkable feat. Of course we made mistakes along the way, but each mistake led to new thought, new approaches, new ways, which in turn led to more success.
What I realized through that struggle is that Eli has developed much more than he was writing about. I became convinced that he developed a pragmatic life philosophy that guides not just his writing but also all his conduct. It’s no wonder that I started to press him to share, in writing, his unique approach. For years, actually decades, he declined, claiming that he was not yet ready. At last I prevailed. This book is the result. I hope you enjoy and benefit from it as much as I do.
The North River Press