We all know that manufacturing is currently facing an array of challenges. From the skills gap to jobs going overseas, there’s much to be addressed at every juncture.
The good news is that nothing inspires new ideas and innovative solutions more than a challenge.
Just as Ro Khanna set forth a vision for American manufacturing in Entrepreneurial Nation, most of the books that made our Summer Reading List for Industry did so because they present a fresh perspective and approach to what’s happening right now in industry and in business generally.
Of course, it’s summer, so we also included two selections that are unrelated to manufacturing and business, but which we think will have great appeal for those of us who enjoy engineering, math and science.
Here are the books that made our End-of-Summer Reading List for Industry:
Since we recently sponsored Ro Khanna’s keynote address at the SME Annual Conference, we topped our list with books similar to his Entrepreneurial Nation:
Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing
By Vaclav Smil
While some economists argue that shipping low-value jobs overseas matters little because the high-value work remains in the United States. Smil asks, do we want a society that consists of a small population of workers doing high-value-added work and masses of unemployed? In this book, Smil assesses various suggestions for solving America’s manufacturing crisis.
Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance
By Gary Pisano and Willy Shih
Harvard Business School professors, Pisano and Shih, show the disastrous consequences of years of poor sourcing decisions and underinvestment in manufacturing capabilities. They reveal how today’s undervalued manufacturing operations often hold the seeds of tomorrow’s innovative new products, arguing that companies must reinvest in new product and process development in the US industrial sector.
This next group of books focus on Lean Manufacturing, a topic EFI Group will be speaking about at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Lean Conference, Nov 5-6:
Going Lean: How the Best Companies Apply Lean Manufacturing Principles to Shatter Uncertainty, Drive Innovation, and Maximize Profits
By Stephan Ruffa
This book sets aside the notion that efficient operations and powerful innovations are only possible when business is steady and demand is growing. Instead, companies must adopt the powerful mindset is that chaos should be the norm.
The Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company
By Art Byrne
Few business leaders have applied Lean strategy as successfully as Art Byrne has. In this book, this legendary business leader shares everything he has learned during his remarkable career and shows how anyone can achieve similar results.
Back to Basics: How Kaizen Based Lean Manufacturing Turned a Failing Manufacturing Plant into a Success Story
By Bill Gaw
A business novel that follows the fortunes of a manufacturing plant manager as he learns to implement lean manufacturing, saving both his plant and his career. The unique format gives readers a front row seat for learning how to make lean practices practical and successful.
Our third set of books are focused on innovation across all businesses and industries:
Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace
By Gordon MacKenzie
Creativity is crucial to business success. But too often, even the most innovative organization quickly becomes a “giant hairball” – a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules, traditions, and systems, all based on what worked in the past. In this funny book, MacKenzie shares the story of his own professional evolution, together with lessons on awakening and fostering creative genius.
The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
By Seth Godin
The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news, according to Godin, is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever – which means that choosing something unpredictable and brave in business today is more logical than playing it safe.
Poke the Box
By Seth Godin
Godin knows that one of our scarcest resources is the spark of initiative in most organizations (and most careers). This book is a call to action to the person with the guts to say, “I want to start stuff.”
Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs
By Larry Keely, Helen Walters, Ryan Pikkel and Brian Quinn
Using a list of more than 2,000 successful innovations, including Cirque du Soleil, early IBM mainframes and many more, the authors applied a proprietary algorithm and determined ten meaningful groupings that provide insight about innovation. The book explores these insights to diagnose patterns of innovation within industries, identify innovation opportunities and evaluate how firms are performing against competitors. The framework has proven to be one of the most enduring and useful ways to start thinking about transformation.
Finally, here are the two books we included just for fun:
Lady or the Tiger? And Other Logic Puzzles Including a Mathematical Novel That Features Godel’s Great Discovery
By Raymand Smullyan
The paperback reprint of Smullyan’s most successful book of puzzles is a mind-bending, pleasurable romp through the world of logic. For all ages and all levels of difficulty, these puzzles range from those that can be solved in minutes to those that will beguile for hours.
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines
By Janna Lavine
Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems sent shivers through Vienna’s intellectual circles and directly challenged Ludwig Wittgenstein’s dominant philosophy. Alan Turing’s mathematical genius helped him break the Nazi Enigma Code during WWII. Though they never met, their lives strangely mirrored one another – both were brilliant, and both met with tragic ends. Here, a mysterious narrator intertwines these parallel lives into a double helix of genius and anguish, wonderfully capturing not only two radiant, fragile minds but also the zeitgeist of the era.
All descriptions excerpted from Amazon.