Literature has always been my education of choice. I love to read and I love to learn. Maybe I have taken too many chalk board eraser’s to the temple and now value my solace too much or maybe I am free of distractions with no need for my ego to try and get itself noticed? Or maybe I am just older, more mature and also more understanding of the perils of a life that is not lean. Whatever the reasons I really do love to get down and dirty with a good book. By good book I mean a book that is going to transform your life. Transforming my life is my new education and I am addicted to it. I guess you are too?
This book will change your life of that I have no doubt. I would love to take all of the credit and tell you that I am some superlative Socratic philosopher but that would be so inauthentic of me. Instead this book is a group of ideas taken from the very best books I have read and the very best courses I have attended. Other people wrote this book and created these ideas. I just decided to package it up in a unique way and turn it into a way of life – lean life.
Lean Life is a transformation!
So before we begin changing your life I want to start by telling you a little story. I am a storyteller after all so please just divulge me and I promise I will make it as interesting as I can. I was in an office in the heart of Port Talbot Steelworks. The office had a dusty white sheen to it and I was stood in front of a bookcase waiting for my customer to make me a cup of tea. I pulled out a book and blew the dust off the head of the pages before breaking out in a smile. I turned around in unison with the sound that a spoon makes when it ratter-tat-tats the top of hardened clay.
“Great book,” I said.
My customer handed me the cup of tea and he held his other hand out in an indication that he wanted me to fill it with the book I was holding, so I completed the trade. I sipped the steaming hot tea as he walked past me. I watched him place the book back on the shelf and instead he pulled a much thicker book out turned around and dropped it onto the table. It landed with a strangely muted thud and a cloud of dust plumed into the air around it, most of which settled nicely in my customer’s cup of tea.
“Now that’s a book,” said my customer in the tone of Mick Dundee.
For the next hour we forgot all about our meeting and instead drank dust-covered tea and talked about The Machine That Changed The World by James P. Womack, Daniel T.Jones and Daniel Roos. I had been introduced to Lean Principles for the first time and my transformation had begun.
I bought it immediately and despite being scared of the thought of reading a book with the words The Massachusetts Institute of Technology 5-Million-Dollar 5-Year Study On The Future Of The Automobile inscribed on it, (I had no interest in cars and couldn’t change a light bulb) I found it captivating and I couldn’t put it down. After I had finished reading it my head was full of ideas. In fact they were spilling out of my nostrils, mouth and ears. Everywhere I looked I saw the potential to create more value, I saw waste everywhere and I wanted to continuously improve everything.
I was now addicted to lean and like a crack addict I needed another hit. A quick trawl through the world wide web and I was the proud owner of Lean Thinking by James P. Womack and Daniel T.Jones. This time it wasn’t a study about automobiles but a value stream map on lean, each chapter clearly describing each stage of the lean process.
It was another book that went down with the same velocity and haste as a crème brulee.