Critical Chain

Project Management and the Theory of Constraints
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (934 ratings)

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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)
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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!

21 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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interdisciplinary ToC brilliance

This work proves the interdisciplinary application of ToC as the Unico universe started by the first books expands outside the production field. Brilliant!

1 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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It’s like an MBA in a book.

This book and the Goal are now my top 1 & 2 business books. Highly recommend!

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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 people found this helpful

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  • T. J. Baldwin
  • 08-09-19

Multiple readers doesn't add to the experience

With ToC applied to Production (in "The Goal") and then Sales & Marketing (in "It's not luck"), the series now moves to Project Management and Shared resources (in "Critical Chain").

In a post-Agile World, this PM thinking might now be starting to show its age!

However, I think the most jarring aspect of this presentation is the switching of 3 readers (2 male & 1 female), chapter by chapter, for no apparent reason.

The recording of "The Goal" does it well; this doesn't.

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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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  • Florian
  • 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.

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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

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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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  • 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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  • 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.

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  • 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.