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Publisher's Summary

A young, untested team of problem solvers challenged with saving their company moves from board room to classroom in search of answers - and finds them through lively, open discourse with their innovative professor. This gripping, fast-paced business novel does for project management what Eliyahu M. Goldratt's other novels have done for production and marketing.

©1994 2014 Goldratt1 Ltd. (P)2014 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"This is valuable to two main audiences: project managers and senior managers...useful for dealing with one of the most difficult and pressing management challenges: developing highly innovated new products." ( Harvard Business Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Business Fiction - A New Genre

This book is horrific from a literary perspective - shallow, predictable characters with almost soap-opera like qualities. Please ignore the slow start where these unimpressive characters are introduced.

This book is brilliant because of the way it weaves a deeper meaning and education of project management into a plausible and interesting plotline, which makes up for the characters that carry it.

This book is not for the uninitiated. It's chocked full of jargon and concepts that people who have never studied project management would never understand. For those who have had a course or two on project management or even a weeklong seminar and for whom project management is a reality, the book has a clarity and focus that reaches beyond anything I've seen in any period of instruction on the topic. However, you must speak the project management language to follow the gist of the book.

As someone who has managed projects for years and studied project management, this book helped me achieve a new level of thinking and analysing business models, assumption, problems, workflows and more.

This book is truly brilliant. Did I start out by saying its bad literature? It is. And it's brilliant!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hated the changing voices

I had high hopes that the multiple voice actors would mean a female would play the female parts and the two men would play the key characters from the book. I was disappointed. Some chapters were read by the female doing all parts and others were by one or the other men. There was one chapter where it sounded like the men changed mid-sentence. I loved the book and I can't wait to apply TOC to my projects but the recording really threw me for a loop.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lack of Different Voices & Hard to Understand

Didn't like the lack of different voices. Male and female roles were by a male. Only one male voice throughout. The book is all over the place and hard to follow and understand. This issue only makes it even more of a challenge.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Just alright

Any additional comments?

I purchased this book as someone who has never been in a Project Management role and wanted to learn more about the position. I was able to learn the basics through some of the use cases in the book and some interesting points I would have never thought about. However, overall I found myself losing interest as the book continued and felt like I wasn't learning anything new past the halfway point.

One byproduct that I did take from the audio though is a great way of teaching a class. I instruct classes and I really liked the teachers methods in delivering his material.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Casting characters to voices would improve this

The insights in this book are fantastic, but the narration was hard to follow. Female characters and male characters were voiced by different narrators in different chapters. This made it much harder to follow than necessary.

The last chapter seemed incongruous with the rest, and wasn't satisfying, but I appreciated the insight it offered on justifying investments.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Must Read for any business library!

Excellent and accessible for a wide audience. The best and most complete explanation for significant theories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A link of manufacturing to projects

As a manufacturing engineer, this is the most relevant book I've read to drive project completion. Easy to follow, entertaining, and educational. A link of the structured manufacturing flow to project flow that makes sense, and it's sustainable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic TOC Novel

May not be Shakespeare, but communicates the fundamental precepts of Critical Chain in an entertaining way. I recommend this for anyone interested in TOC.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Ideas intriguing, writing/direction acceptable

The ideas in this novel are at least smart: I cannot say yet if they are as brilliant as the ideas in /The Goal/, but they come from the same place. As you’ll remember, in /The Goal/ the central purpose of a company is to maximize profit, translated from an accountant’s global perspective (having enough money in the bank to not die, then keeping ROI up while simultaneously investing as much as won't kill you) to a physicist’s local perspective (you have some queue of orders that already strategically matches the ROI goals, you can assume you will handle all of them eventually, so your goal is to reduce the time between when an order comes in and when it leaves: this alone maximizes your profit per unit time, and it is worth making many steps inefficient if it improves this lead time).

The central question here is, most of the strategies of /The Goal/ concern having variable order streams for the same 50 products, but many companies instead face a situation where your queue of orders contains unique products: how do we optimize /that/? In other words what happens in a context where you cannot reasonably identify bottlenecks in order throughput, because the orders have no shared structure that can be used to define a “bottleneck”?

The book like its predecessor tacks on personal conflicts to humanize the material, but here they fall much more flat. Goldratt’s narrative switches between points of view in order to present information that the main character, a college professor, would not have been privy to: but it is debatable that this is necessary in the first place. The bigger problem is that the narrator is not being changed so much by the journey he has embarked upon. One might imagine that a college professor has a lot of personal tasks that could be thought of as projects, and so there would be a personal journey to this story: if so, that is extremely implicit.

The book realizes the scattered points of view by switching actual physical narrators, which is extremely jarring, especially when they do not agree on the pronunciation of the central company GeneModem. Alexander Cendese is not a bad narrator but his voice has a charming gravelly-ness to it that unfortunately makes the characters bleed together, when you interrupt him in this way with folks who do not have that same vocal texture. With /The Goal/ I may have questioned the running soundtrack but the ensemble of voice actors seen there truly would have helped here: Rather than trying to pick out two different narrators’ takes on one character as “the same” it would have been nice if that character were just always voiced by the one.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Some great content

These books have some great content and I learn a few new concepts each time I read one. I certainly recommend them from that standpoint. There are some misogynistic tones that can be tough to overlook and the narrator impersonating women for performance sake is nearly comical. Takes away from otherwise good content.

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  • T.C
  • 06-29-15

Classic Business Novel

If you don't know about the theory of constraints then you probably should. This book explains them in the context of project management.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John N.
  • 06-07-18

An excellent listen

Really enjoyed listening to this as alway the story plays like a mority tale. I keep finding myself returning to different segments to understand the implications.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • florin
  • 02-21-17

recommended

quite interesting story and explanation.
it gives a brief introduction to some basic principles which are mostly forgotten.
The narator is very good...it was a plesent lecture.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RRF
  • 11-02-14

an entertaining presentation of a dry subject

Would you consider the audio edition of Critical Chain to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have not.

Any additional comments?

one of the most appealing project management lessons

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-12-18

Worst narrator ever

Only on chapter 2 and the narrators voice is unlistenable. Seems to be a bunch of fictional stories that are boring AF, instead of worthwhile PM theory content

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-12-18

alot to be learnt here

loved it. really engaging book. got addicted. great for someone learning project management. highly recommended

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob
  • 04-30-16

Engaging, thought provoking and practical.

If you could sum up Critical Chain in three words, what would they be?

Engaging, enlightening and practical.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Critical Chain?

Milestones are not needed for teams.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Practical explinations and real world examples of "out-of-the-box" thinking.

Any additional comments?

Please do not worry about the comments relating to the different readers. It does not matter one bit or take anything away from the content. Cannot rate this book high enough.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 11-12-15

good ideas, clumsy storytelling

Storytelling is simplistic, but gets the job done. Shame different speakers voice the same characters in different sections.