Reviewed by Stephen Parry
I guess the parallel with the book 'The Goal' by Goldratt, is no accident and as such is being asked to be compared. It is very similar in format, a novel style portrayal of a company trying to get back to profitability. In the case of 'The Goal' they use a framework based on a 'Theory of Constraints' and the 'Goldmine' illustrates Lean Manufacturing Principles.
But first let me outline my view on the GOAL by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox.
I like the format, characters are interesting in the novel style portrayal of a company getting to grips with productivity problems and the impact on personal lives, these sections are very real.
The theory of constraints, is too grand a title for what can only be described as the business equivalent of the Snake under the Persian carpet story. A man finds a lump in his carpet, hits it hard and it disappears only to find it reappearing somewhere else a few days later. This continues for several weeks until someone lifts the carpet to find a very disgruntled snake. Identifying and removing single constraints in the production process and then waiting for the next to appear is just absurd. However the process is seductive because it gets results, the lump disappears after all and if it re-appears in another guise somewhere else, well that's perceived as a new problem, requiring a new solution, perhaps a heavier hammer to hit the snake with is in order?. I suggest Mr. Goldratt and Mr. Cox lift the carpet and take a look at what is really going on.
All that said, its well written and an excellent read, I could not put it down.
Comparison between the books:
In terms of the story line, the goldmine book is a little weak because I never really get to know the characters or feel any concern or empathy for them. In these terms the 'Goal' wins hands down.
In terms of a practical and effective theory of management i.e. Lean Production then the Gold mine is far superior. We even get to see some practical examples worked out within the work environment context, its a sort of case study/documentary.
In conclusion, if you want a good story and poor theory then the Goal is a better choice. But remember, you can always buy a good novel instead.
If like me you want something that works in practice then the Goldmine is a clear winner.