Great Resources to Support Your Lean Journey

By on January 23, 2015
Great Resources to Support Your Lean Journey

Recently, one of our clients asked if we could give her a list of what we considered to be the most important books for a person to read in developing their expertise in Lean transformations. Out of that request, I developed this list of fifteen books that, based on my experience, are “must reading” for Lean practitioners.

Must Reads

These five books will provide you with a solid understanding of what it is that makes Lean such a powerful transformation process as well as what it takes to make Lean work processes sustainable.

  1. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey Liker
  2. Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones
  3. Creating a Lean Culture by David Mann
  4. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande MD
  5. Toyota KATA by Mike Rother

An Invaluable Reference

Very clear definitions of the hundreds of terms used in reference to Lean and is amply illustrated. As you implement Lean, you’ll be referring to it often.

  • Lean Lexicon: A Graphical Glossary for Lean Thinkers compiled by the Lean Enterprise Institute

Should Haves

You and your associates will find these books to be very useful resources as your Lean journey progresses.

  • Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping to Create Value and Eliminate Muda by Mike Rother and John Shook
  • The Machine That Changed The World: The Story of Lean Production by James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos
  • The Toyota Way Field Book by Jeffrey Liker and David Meier
  • My Life and Work by Henry Ford
  • Toyota Production System: Beyond Large Scale Production by Taiichi Ohno
  • Managing to Learn: Using the A3 System Management Process by John Shook
  • How to Prevent Lean Implementation Failures by Larry Rubrich
  • The Pittsburgh Way to Efficient Healthcare by Naida Grunden
  • Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement by Mark Graban

We hope you find this Lean reading list helpful. Additionally, we know this list can be improved and we’d greatly value your recommendations on books that should be added. Send your suggestions to

Also, if you’d like to discuss the ways in which our Lean transformation services could be of value to your organization, just call me, George Friesen, any time at 314-303-0612. I very much look forward to talking with you. We have some very powerful new Lean training and consulting services that I’d like to tell you about. Also, you’ll find additional information about our Lean services at Making Lean Stick and Lean Transformations.

About George Friesen

George Friesen serves as Business Practice Leader - Lean Manufacturing for the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College. He has led the College's Lean business practice area since 2000. Prior to joining the College, George worked for Maritz Performance Improvement Company. Over the past 35 years, he has served a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies, specializing during the past eleven years in Lean Manufacturing, focusing especially on the 5S System, Lean leadership and thinking processes, Value Stream Mapping, and Lean team building. George is a graduate of Washington University (AB), Webster University (MA), and United States Air Force Flight Training.

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