Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"The Gold Mine" by Balle and Balle

"The Gold Mine" by Balle and Balle


For the third and last element of my promise fulfillment, I report on The Gold Mine: A Novel of Lean Turnaround by Freddy Balle and Michael Balle.


The authors intend this to not be your typical business book.  And they succeed in this aspect.  Balle, a sensei himself, describes how Lean works to save a collapsing hypothetical manufacturing company.  He does a good job of describing lean, the tools and, more importantly, the people-aspect of Lean. 


Their model for the writing style was The Goal, the now-famous book by Eli Goldratt, in which the author uses the novel as a method of talking about Theory of Constraints.  A noble objective, but they fell short.


I found The Gold Mine a difficult read, hardly a page-turner.  While the author clearly knows his stuff as a Lean guru, he's not an writer.  I felt at many points he quit writing and started typing.  The book is at least a third longer than it needs to be, perhaps twice as long.  "Lowering the water level" of the inventory of words would have helped.  


I didn't finish the book...I just got bored.  In reading comments on Amazon's site, I see I'm out of step with others' views, so look at those as well.  But I found the book disappointing, simply because it was poorly written.  The first time I read The Goal, I sat up till 2:30am to finish it, I could not put it down. I've read it through twice since and still refer to it.  No problem laying The Gold Mine down, however.


I hope this is helpful.



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