A few Great Books

I lent out a couple of books today. For nonfiction books I measure how good they are by how many times I tell my wife about some snippet in the book.  For great books, Shai can't read them, because I've basically narrated the entire book to her.

I lent The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt to Jim, and I lent The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell to Habib a PM on our team.  I also talked up Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond to Habib, but I didn't want to push too many books onto his must read stack.

The Goal  is the first in a series of three business books that look at management and scheduling but are written as novels.  Most of the ideas in it are used for modern 'Just in Time' manufacturing.  It's fascinating to reflect on how those ideas apply for software. My favorite point is that a bottleneck in your factory is a good thing because the bottleneck is how you can measure throughput and throttle it.  The Tipping Point is about how fads and epidemics work.  My favorite section in that book is about how the company that makes Gore-Tex sets up their plants.  They keep the number of people in a plant below 150.  One of the reason is that below that size formal mechanisms of communication aren't as important.   It seems many companies experience a crisis as they transition across that size.

Do you know any must read books?  It's been a bit since I've read a great non fiction book.