iSixSigma

The 10 Best Quality Books of All-Time

The 10 Best Quality Books of All-Time

Are you a quality professional, Lean Six Sigma belt, OpEx pro or industrial engineer looking to expand your library? Great, this is the page for you!

In my opinion, these are the books you should read and have on your bookshelf they’re on mine and some of them are even signed by the authors! They are listed here in no particular order.

What Book Did I Miss?   Let me know in the comments below!
What is Six Sigma?

What Is Six Sigma?
by Pete Pande and Larry Holpp
Print

My #1 recommendation for those who want to learn about Six Sigma is iSixSigma; my #2 rec is this book. This book is the simplest, shortest read on the list 86 pages, big type and a good overview of Six Sigma and what it can do for your organization. You’ll finish it on your next flight and still have time to enjoy a beverage.

Learn more about What Is Six Sigma? »

Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World's Top Corporations

Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations
by Mikel Harry and Richard Schroeder
Print | Audiobook

This is the book that ignited the revolution and convinced companies and organizations around the world to stop thinking quality is incremental improvement and instead think about achieving breakthrough improvement. Nobody spins a story like these authors! And while you might think that this book is a bit dated (published in 2000), I can assure you that the ideas, strategies and tactics used then are still applicable today. In fact, our 2019 industry survey substantiates them.

Learn more about Six Sigma: The Breakthrough Management Strategy »

Juran's Quality Handbook

Juran’s Quality Handbook
by Joseph A. Defeo and Joseph M. Juran
Print

For decades, Juran’s Quality Handbook has been the essential reference guide every quality manager and industrial engineer needs to do their job and improve quality. It covers applications, procedures, techniques and strategies, and the newest version includes Lean, Six Sigma and the Shingo Prize. I own the fifth edition, and it’s been the “go to” reference since I started doing Six Sigma in the 1990s. (As an aside, I was honored to attend Dr. Juran’s 100th birthday celebration in 2004 a highlight of my quality career.)

Learn more about Juran’s Quality Handbook »

Lean Six Sigma and Minitab

Lean Six Sigma and Minitab: The Complete Toolbox Guide for Business Improvement
by Quentin Brook
Print

I’ve known Quentin Brook for decades; in fact, we both were trained in Lean Six Sigma at GE in the 1990s. Over the years, he’s honed his guide for managers, Black Belts and Green Belts into one of the most useful guides I’ve ever seen. It’s practical, hands-on and includes useful examples.

Learn more about Lean Six Sigma and Minitab: The Complete Toolbox Guide »

Six Sigma Memory Jogger II: A Pocket Guide

Six Sigma Memory Jogger II: A Pocket Guide
by Michael Brassard, Lynda Finn, Dana Ginn, Diane Ritter, Cathy Kingery and Michele Kierstead
Print

If you’re actually doing Lean Six Sigma, then you’ll inevitably need a quick refresher of how a tool works. Again, iSixSigma’s your go-to resource, but if you want a quick reference that fits in your back pocket, this is the book. When GE rolled out Six Sigma in the 1990s, we received this as part of our training. It’s well worth the $18.

Learn more about Six Sigma Memory Jogger II: A Pocket Guide »

Six Sigma: The First 90 Days

Six Sigma: The First 90 Days
by Stephen A. Zinkgraf
Print | eBook

If you’re going to roll out Lean and/or Six Sigma to your organization, you should bundle this book with Leading Change (below on this list). You can thank me later, because this book gives you the hands-on framework of what to do and how to do it for your first 90 days. And “Zink” (Dr. Stephen Zinkgraf) knows from his 50+ Six Sigma deployments including AlliedSignal and Motorola.

Learn more about Six Sigma: The First 90 Days »

Design For Six Sigma: The Tool Guide For Practitioners

Design for Six Sigma: The Tool Guide for Practitioners
by Lisa A. Reagan and Mark J. Kiemele
Print

If you want to take your Black Belt skills to the next level, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is what you should look into. This guide about DFSS is both comprehensive and exceptionally well written. And I’m not just saying that because iSixSigma project managed, edited and published this book although it did allow me to become intimately familiar with the content and quality of it.

Learn more about Design for Six Sigma: The Tool Guide for Practitioners »

Leading Change

Leading Change
by John P. Kotter
Print | eBook | Audiobook

If you want to implement any type of change in your organization, be it Lean Six Sigma, data-based decision making or simply people being nicer to each other, it all starts with changing the culture. This is the most important book on the topic of culture change. In it, Kotter explains his eight-step culture change process. I’ve referred this book to probably tens of people in my career, and they’ve never been disappointed.

Learn more about Leading Change »

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
by Stephen R. Covey
Print | eBook | Audiobook

When you’re stuck in the “rat race” of large corporations, it’s useful to poke your head out of the cubicle once every year and give this book a quick read. Covey talks about the seven most important habits of effective people you know, the people we all look up to in the organization. In this book, you’ll be reminded to: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand (then be understood), synergize (don’t gag. . . I hate this type of “corporate speak” too) and sharpen the saw. This book includes the quick fixes that I wish everyone in an organization would read and become familiar with.

Learn more about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People »

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton
Print | eBook | Audiobook

I wish I could tell you that work will be all unicorns and rainbows. But it won’t be. You’ll find people who don’t like you, people who are always upset and people who like to argue. Getting them to say “yes” to what you want is critical to your success in business (and life). And this is the one book you should read multiple times over your career to help resolve disputes so you can solve problems.

Learn more about Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In »

What Book Did I Miss?   Let me know in the comments below!

Comments 13

  1. John Elwer

    Leading Six Sigma by Snee and Hoerl was a great book on the systems you need to put in place to implement and sustain six sigma.

    The Six Sigma Handbook by Pyzdek and Keller is a must-have for implementation.

  2. Sergey Glukhov

    I was fascinated first reading The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies Are Honing Their Performance by Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman.

    The thickest book on Six Sigma is Implementing Six Sigma: Smarter Solutions Using Statistical Methods 2nd Edition by Forrest W. Breyfogle.

    Very practical book that I would recommend as a Six Sigma text book: Six Sigma+Lean Toolset: Mindset for Successful Implementation of Improvement Projects by Editor: Lunau, Stephan (Ed.)

    • Michael Cyger

      Thanks, Sergey.

      I agree. Forrest is nothing if not comprehensive in his books. They’re terrific.

      I haven’t read the one edited by Stephan Lunau, so I’ll have to add that to my list! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Darth

    Hi Mike,
    How come you did not include any of the George books? Or Joel Smith’s new book on Minitab? Surely some of Mike G’s books are noteworthy. Hope all is well and have a great holiday.

    Darth

    • Michael Cyger

      Hi Darth,

      George and Smith have written fantastic books. Thanks for recommending them.

      These are my personal recommendations from my practitioner days. They are the books that helped me achieve personal breakthrough in practicing Six Sigma.

      Happy holidays and new year to you! Always great to hear from you.

  4. glenngraessle

    In your writeup about What Is Six Sigma? by Pete Pande and Larry Holpp, you say “My #1 recommendation for those who want to learn about Six Sigma is iSixSigma”.

    However, your website appears to be not well suited for learning. It appears to be more of a reference site. A learning site would have a top-down approach essential terms defined as you go. So for example, at https://www.isixsigma.com/tools-templates/capability-indices-process-capability/process-capability-surface-finish-example-part-2/, in the new to SixSigma section, there are several undefined terms. Maybe ImRm, ml (as in 9.02 ml).

    This is similar to the training at my employer (Honeywell). Lots of modules for which the relationships have not been made.

    Maybe that works if you have some sort of statistics background. To me it seems like giving a toolbox to someone who has never seen a car engine and expecting them to be able to fix a broken engine.

    • Michael Cyger

      Thanks for your comment, Glenn.

      I made that opening statement a little “tongue in cheek,” meaning it was a joke.

      For the completely uninitiated, reading iSixSigma can be like drinking from a fire hose. It would be like going to college without ever having learned to study by attending high school. That is why I recommend books like “What is Six Sigma” for those who have zero background at all on Lean Six Sigma. And more complex books like “Juran’s Quality Handbook” and “Lean Six Sigma and Minitab: The Complete Toolbox Guide for Business Improvement” for practitioners.

      Coupling in-person training and/or this library along with iSixSigma (to answer the day-to-day questions) will get most dedicated practitioners through a successful Six Sigma project.

      Good luck to you at Honeywell. I hope you find the resources you need to be a successful change agent. Feel free to post questions to the discussion forum at any time. People on iSixSigma are very helpful.

      Happy new year!

  5. Bubb

    Happy new year to Everyone.

    I seem to have a reasonably extensive book collection (specifically I own/owned or have read 4 of the aforementioned books), yet I find that there are different levels of material available. And what I might find as “over-my-head” would be casual reading for others. Forrest Breyfogle’s is really good (IMHO). And Bhote’s “World Class Quality” methods (2nd edition is better) are nice how-to’s but his opinions may be seen as abrasive to uninitiated readers.

    So I offer a short comment/suggestion: _Keep the list_ (above) but categorize as “Easy”, “Medium”, and “Reference” on one axis ,and “Primary-Necessary”, “Secondary”, and “Very Specific and/or Obscure” on the other axis, i.e., make a table of the information. For those about to go on the Road to Six Sigma, having a stratified reference might be a real money saving tool. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a highly recommended book only to find that it is nearly the same as something I have already.

    2nd suggestion: Publish a good reference list of publishers and a list of book re-sellers (so one isn’t paying full price).

    3rd suggestion: Send isixsigma dotcom links to co-workers (or anyone) who asks about Subject X an exact link to this website’s information. This website is a goldmine, especially the erudite and helpful people that answer questions from all directions.

    Best to All,
    R. Bubb

  6. rrajani

    NICE….
    THANKS FOR POSTING THEM….

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