I started reading “The One Best Way: Fredrick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency” a week or so ago and I’m enjoying it so much I thought I’d do a quick write up for those who might be interested.
Tayor is judged rather harshly in some circles today but that didn’t quell my desire to learn more about him. For better or worsethe influence of his philosophy, scientific management, hashad more impact on the industrial development of this country than that of most any other person you might think of.Peter Drucker once said Taylor warrants a place alongside Darwin and Freud in the making of the modern world.
Robert Kanigel, the author of this work, is an excellent writer. The book makes you feel more like you are walking around the shop floor next to Taylor instead of just reading about him. To say the attention to detail is incredible doesn’t do the book justice as it is truly masterful. In one chapter Kanigel paints an enthralling picture of how the machinery in a 19th century steel mill was set up and then follows that with a vivid explanation of how steam power was used to run all of the machine tools. Truly fascinating.
Anyone interested in the evolution of management, the history of early American industry, or just curious about this often mentioned figure should give this book a read. The book is rather long, over 700 pages, but don’t let that scare you off, it is very entertaining.