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Here is a list of useful items we think you might like. Please note:

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Here’s a list of current books in each topic area highlighting something unique about that topic area. These are top-ranked, chosen to give you with a competitive advantage and future-proofs your business. Please let us know what you thought of these books, and if you have others that should be on this list. Send them in via the comment box on the bottom of the page.


This books will rock your world if you are a product designer or engineer.  It delves deep into natural shapes and material properties of living organisms can inspire design.  For, example adding the bumps found on the fins of Humpback whales to windmill blades quiets the windmill.
Donella Meadows wrote this book after 30 years experience working with other “big thinkers” such as the MIT Systems Dynamics group. Use this book if your organization needs perspective on how industrial and business ecosystems can be made more efficient and more connected.

What if you wanted to really dominate a market segment with new innovative products?  One way would be to follow the lead of McDonough Braungart and de-commodify, and maybe even de-materialize the product.  This thought-provoking book explains the core principles to achieve this.


Wow! If you care about reducing operational costs, securing a future market for your product, or reducing your company’s carbon footprint, you have GOT to read this book. Amory Lovins first coined the phrase “negawatts” in the 1970s, and has not stopped helping people see energy waste in all spheres of life.

Energy Management Handbook 

If you are in charge of reducing the energy spend of your company, read this, or give it to your engineers and facility’s manager. It is THE textbook for reducing energy costs beyond just swapping light bulbs.

Energy Reduction Through Improved Maintenance Practices What if you could cut the energy use of a piece of machinery by 15% through proper lubrication?   How about saving 10% of your company’s energy spend through a compressed air leak prevention program? Bannister’s nuggets of wisdom that can make you look like a champion at your site.


The “Maintenance Geek” will show you how much money your shop is losing in breakdowns and unexpected maintenance. Having helped literally hundreds of small and mid-sized manufacturers, he has made his mark in helping get their practices up to world-class standards, to increase machine reliability and output.

Introduction to Emergency Management

Did you know 70% of businesses do NOT have an emergency action plan?  What about you? Have you every thought about what it costs to lose electricity, be cut off from your supply chain, or be unable to ship product to your most cherished customer?  Get on board with having rigorous set of fail-safes with Haddow’s book.

The NEW Lean Pocket Guide If you need to do lean, but are intimidated by large texts, and fancy training programs, you can get a leg up by reading this on your coffee break. its that easy on the eyes. Nuff said.


This reviewer confesses to be biased about this remarkable book, as I wrote it. If you need to prove the financial worth of a project and quantify  environmental benefits, this is the book for you.

SAIC-How we built an $8 billion ESOP How does an entrepreneur go from a small three-person office to a 43,000 employee, $8billion revenue machine, yet keep all the employees engaged and moving toward the same goal? Dr. Bayster explains his story and gives advice to others on Employee Stock Owned company structures.

What if your organization has all the poke-yokes, kanbans and 5S out on the floor, but needs to measure their benefit on inventory levels, material purchases and profits? You will want this book on your desk to help re-shape traditional accounting which fails adequately measure the speed of a truly lean organization.


This is a hands-on step-by-step manual for how to identify your next great idea and prove that it can be a viable business. Great for the beginner as well as the expert ready to start something new.

Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living
Does this really need explaining? A photo collection of everyday objects completely disassembled but with a beautiful artistic twist. What does the inside of a watch, or fire extinguisher, or radio look like? Now you know.

Make: Sensors: A Hands-On Primer for Monitoring the Real World with Arduino and Raspberry Pi A perfect starter course for getting into the Internet of Things and the Connected Home. Build sensors and devices that can measure; Distance, Light, Movement, Acceleration, Touch, Electricity and Identity.  The book’s additional value is in gaining familiarity with the Arduino and Pi programming bases.

I think the best recommendation of the book was a reviewer on Amazon who said “Don’t waste your money on college–buy the author’s books and succeed.” Charles Hugh Smith describes the current economic system in five principles (that alone is such a concise work that its worth the read.) But then describes how they are failing us, and by which currently employed methods we can shift to a future of truly meaningful work.


Hopp & Spearman’s work is seminal, yet undervalued, and for the most part under-utilized, I fear.  Industrial Engineers, Continuous Improvement team leaders and Operations Managers will find it invaluable. At least get teh book and read over teh 28 principles on teh inside covers, and that should help.
No matter how you feel about Henry Ford it can’t be denied he was way ahead of his time.  Just the pure thrift of material use at his plant is something that is rarely approached in these days.  Best know for teh “assembly line” he actually had much larger contributions to manufacturing than the iconic production system.  Good read for vacation inspiration.

This is one of the highest rated textbooks on teaching students (of all ages) about machine control systems.  Not an easy subject to teach, or learn.  Consider this as a reference for your bookshelf in the coming years as we modernize and try to integrate new systems with old.

Materials & Waste:

If you haven’t read it, and are looking to create, lead, re-invigorate or continue a Lean effort at your plant, buy a copy and read in your spare time.  Its fundamental. This is the guy that the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s Shingo Award is named for, if that helps to put it in context.
Rother & Shook’s book was the first Lean book I got my hands on.  The visual layout of the principles of flow and waste are excellent. If you are starting from scratch or re-starting a long dormant CI effort, this might be your best guide for team exercises.

Additive Manufacturing: Innovations, Advances, and Applications The value of this book comes from its ability to help you decide if you can make your product using any of the new additive (3-D) technologies that are at the forefront of manufacturing.  Its really geared towards Industrial Engineers, Material Engineers and scientists who make decisions about what materials something ought to made from.

Sales & Marketing:

Applying the Pareto principle to marketing is brilliant, and drives it home with stories that are relatable.  There are over 300 reviews of this book on Amazon, so you can be sure its not just me raving about it.
How to Win Friends & Influence People Another classic that everyone, ought to read, preferably BEFORE they enter the workforce.   It’s your basic instruction manual on how to get along with humans. Doesn’t any book that was written 80 years ago, yet sells an average of 375,000 copies per year deserve some time?

Evergreen: Cultivate the Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving

If you are head of Sales, or a Regional Sales Manager, this book can save you thousands of hours of effort and thousands of dollars. Its that old adage “A bird in the hand is worth two in teh bush”, but how many of us really take that to heart?


BREAKING IN: Over 100 Product Designers Reveal How to Build a Portfolio That Will Get You Hired What do you need in order to get hired by the likes of Jeep, Apple, Samsung and other product-oriented manufacturing companies?  Read the stories of some of the industries’ most talented and how they got started. Plus find out what not to do, and what to include in your design portfolio.
Com’on who doesn’t like Legos.  And Robots! No need to say anything else really.

1800 Mechanical Movements, Devices and Appliances

So let’s say you wanted to create your own robot, or a better washing machine, or just really needed to know how to make a gear turn at a right angle.  This is the book for you.

Supply Chain:

Commerce today is very global.  Impacts are far reaching. Case in point the Fukushima nuclear accident destroyed supply chains for the auto, electronics, and plastics industry that took months to fix. Other risks outlined here include: pandemics, infrastructure, ecology and climate change, economics, and politics.
This is a very interesting story of a rather mundane but revolutionary object.  Shipping goods prior to the invention of the shipping container was varied and frought with regulatory issues and complications.  A solid vacation read for people interested in how objects can change the course of history.
The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected
If your lucky, your insurance company will tell you that the Federal Emergency Management Agency raised the 100 year flood line and you better prepare for more wet events. But that only covers some types of weather, and not other risks from so many other directions. This book can help you get smart around the fast changing character of risks to business.
A timeless text on how things get made.  If you need to learn which machines and processes are used to create your finished product this is your go-to manual.  I’ve listed the 5th edition (2012), but a 6th edition will surely come out soon given the rate that additive manufacturing technologies are growing.
Used to be that everything was Brick & Mortar, and being on-line was waiting to mail a letter at the Post Office.  Bastions of retail like Sears (& Roebuck), K-Mart, and Office Depot have fallen to online competition.  And what about manufacturing? How do companies that focus on “making things” change to focus on service value and customer relationships to survive in this new experience-driven economy.

Frictionless Markets: The 21st Century Supply Chain One solution to issues raised in Living Innovation, is this book, a prediction of how supply chains will change in response to the need for faster turn-around, and higher customization.  We already see this in new businesses that will prototype parts for you on 3-D printers in a matter of hours rather than weeks.  Waiting 3 weeks or more for a parts to arrive from across the ocean will be a thing of the past, and possibly financial suicide.

Workforce & Community:

Ten case studies of how its done, what the various company structures are that allow employee ownership and how to transfer from a traditional business structure to this.  I can honestly say every employee owned company I have toured has been an aggressive grower and innovation leader, something more companies ought to take a look at IMHO.
Bridging the Soft Skills Gap: How to Teach the Missing Basics to Todays Young Talent One might think this was written and only applicable to “Today’s Young Talent”, but that’s so not true. Very few of us were schooled in these soft skills and had to learn social diplomacy the hard way.  Why waste all that time?
Rise of the Robots With all this talk of Robots, lots of us are scared will will not have a job.  Yet others say there will be retraining, as someone has to make the robots.  If you want to sort it all out and have a plan for yourself, read this.  Its a good discussion of the issues facing employees, managers, corporations and governments.

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