Reference Books

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    It seems that when a post is made to this site that many times the response has something like “… more is in ____’s book [Title], pages x through y….”
    It seems like a wide variety of books are referenced, so one would get a whole library of books accumulated, each used very rarely.
    So, my question:  Is it possible for say 5 books to be nominatesuch that they cover 90%+ of the information needed?  If so, which books would they be?


    Jered Horn

    Here’s my top 5 (in no particular order)…1. Implementing Six Sigma – Breyfogle
    2. The Six Sigma Handbook – Pyzdek
    3. Statistics For Experimenters – Box, Hunter, Hunter
    4. Understanding Statistical Process Control –
    Wheeler, Chambers
    5. Design and Analysis of Experiments – MontgomeryFive is not enough, though. Just my opinion.



    FWIW, I keep Implementing Six Sigma – Breyfogle here at work, but others at home (the other books are book I paid for)



    I agree on all but Pyyzdek. Juran’s handbook should be in the top five.


    Mohammed A.

    Agree to all except for Pyzdeck handbook (waste of money). “Six Sigma and Minitab” by QSB consulting is great for beginners.



    Looks like we have a diversity of opinions (no surprise there).  Is there a way on this forum to list say 10 books and then have a poll run on the top 5?
    My vision is that the end point would be that newer persons could start with a library of those good books, and when posting responses that references would be to those books whenever possible.  That would make it so that understanding of responses could be beter in a shorter period of time (no delay as yet another book is ordered).  I understand that the attempt to focus on 5 books would not cover all cases, but it seems that it would be better than the current way of doing things ….


    B Johnson

    This post has moved off to what are “good” books. That is so not SS. Good is subjective; therefore there will be no usable results.
    The question would be more productive, I suggest, if respondents shared – which books do you reference frequently to perform your job? Which ones help you decipher a problem or clarify a dilemma?



    I agree if we restrict the poll to people who have actually done this
    type work for several years.



    Pardon my lack of rigor.  Yes, more precisely:
               the most used books is a function of a person’s job field, certification level, experience level (measured as years or by projects completed?), current type of projects worked, source of initial training (the books initially exposed to are likely to be the ones most referenced later), personal preference, what country one practices in, the number of responses in each of the preceding variables, etc.
    Rather than get into a long study that would cost more than the value obtained, I figure it is more efficient to ask for the books that are most recommended, imprecise as it is.  Most likely the recommended books will be nominated by the more seasoned practioners that have some basis for their recommendation.  Even an imprecise list is better than no list at all.


    Robert Butler

      If I think back over the posts I’ve made to this forum the books I’ve most often made reference to would be, in no particular order,  the following:
    Basic Statistics:
    The Cartoon Guide to Statistics – Gonick & Smith
    Statistical Methods 7th Edition – Snedecor & Cochran
    Statistical Theory and Methodology in Science and Engineering – Brownlee
    Applied Regression Analysis – Draper & Smith
    Regression Analysis by Example – Chatterjee & Price
    Fitting Equations to Data – Daniel & Wood
    Experimental Design:
    Statistics for Experimenters – Box, Hunter, Hunter
    Understanding Industrial Designed Experiments Schmidt & Launsby
    The Design and Analysis of Industrial Experiments 2nd Edition – Davies
    Quality Control:
    Measuring Process Capability – Bothe
    Quality Control and Industrial Statistics – Duncan
    The Visual Display of Quantitative Information – Tufte
    Visual Explanations – Tufte
    Envisioning Information – Tufte
    Categorical Analysis – Agresti
    Statistical Models in Engineering – Hahn & Shapiro
      Yes, this is more than 5 and yes I’m a statistician but an important part of the six sigma profession is a degree of statistical proficiency. If you are going to move beyond the initial 2 weeks of statistical boilerplate training and deal with the “yeah-but” issues that raise their heads with astonishing regularity in posts to this forum and on the job you will need to have good readable references to help you understand and address them – I’d recommend these books, or their equivalent, as the minimum for this facet of the six sigma experience.
      As an aside, and also a change of focus – I found the statement “FWIW, I keep Implementing Six Sigma – Breyfogle here at work, but others at home (the other books are book I paid for)”  very odd.  If those books that you paid for are of value as references why aren’t they at your desk at work?  Every reference I use was purchased with my own funds and all of them are right in front of me in my cubicle..



    Thanks for the reply Robert.  I agree that a good part of our jobs is to be proficient in statistics – and smart enough to REALLY simplify it to those non-SS types we interact with.
    Regarding books at home – I keep what ends up to be most of my books at home due to limited work space & a culture here that does not encourage looking up stuff in books at the office – one is expected to just know it (so I do most reading/learning at home to fit in better).



    The only problem with listing reference books alone is that they do not necessarily reflect essential reading.  You may never reference books such as, but not limited to:  “Lean Thinking”, “The Six Sigma Way”, “The Goal”, or “Learning to See” again but without reading them once you may not experience the paradigm shift that allows you to see things as they truly are and solve problems effectively. 
    I mention this not in an attempt to derail the thread as I am genuinely interested in what some of the more experienced SS practicioners consider their “Top 5” references, but moreso as a caution that reference books are generally dry material that may not instill the passion that some of the more promotional texts may invoke.  So while your “90%+ of the information needed” may be available you may never even get to them without more basic introduction. 
    Also, I view limiting my investment in books to be limiting my investment in myself.  Why would I only want 5 that cover 90?  I want the whole damn thing!!
    My Current Top 5:

    Juran’s Handbook
    Introduction to Statistical Process Control – Montgomery
    Design & Analysis of Experiments – Montgomery
    Statistical Engineering – Steiner & Mackay
    I’ll probably take some flak for the last one, but hey just calling it as I see it…



    I have:
    Implmenting Six Sigma (Breyfogle)
    – good all in one reference
    Understanding Statistical Process Control (Wheeler, Chambers)
     – good drill down into a key area
    The Six Sigma Way (Pande, Neuman, Cavanagh)
    – good introduction to SS
    The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook (Pande, Neuman, Cavanagh)
    – we hand this out during our GB training, so my team has a copy so they can reference when mentoring
    Quality Engineering Statistics (Dovich)
    Understanding Variation (Wheeler)
    – I like this quick read
    Out of the Crisis (Deming)


    Bill Fowlkes

    All very good selections. I would like to add 2 for the soft-skills side of Six Sigma:The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge and
    Overcoming Organizational Defenses by Chris ArgyrisTwo essential books if you include change agent as your role as a (master) Black Belt.



    Your pount that “…reference books are generally dry material that may not instill the passion …” is well taken.   Perhaps Phase II of this effort.
    Thanks for contributing to the list.



    Does anyone know of a way to conduct a poll on this site, even if via another party?
    We have quite a few suggestions thus far, and the time is approaching to conduct a survey based on the nominations that would help ferret out the top 5.  Likely the survey should consider if a person has not use/has never heard of a book listed, and consider the experience level of the responder.   I’d just as soon see this as a project involving more than just myself, so ideas are solicited.



    I presume you mean Juran’s Quality Handbook rather than Juran’s Quality Control Handbook.  Correct?


    Gultekin Savaskan

    Hi Eugene,
    I had the same struggle for years. I believe that Forrest Breyfogle’s IV volume Integrated Enterprice Excellence series (Smarter Solutions) is what you are looking for for several reasons:

    Each volume has its target audience to have a solid mind-set and framework in the organization to succeed in Lean Six Sigma initiative and implementation. Gets the CEOs and GMs attentions and support for successful implementation.
    Vol III is a handbook for implementation with real examples and data for both manufacturing and transactional business
    Vol III has integrated ROAD MAP to see what-why-how relationships
    Crosby award winning earlier edition of Vol III (Implementing Six Sigma) is one of the main reference for ASQ CSSBB Exam, and it is heavily referenced in Indiana Council of Quality Primer to prepare for ASQ CSSBB exam
    I’m happy to reply your specific questions as a person with BB and MBB training from Forrest and intensive implementer/user of his teachings and books in a large corporation in Turkey.


    C Holden

    I am a little late in responding to this, but wanted to add my input.
    The book I keep within arms reach all day long is IEE Vol III by Forrest Breyfogle.
    My second favorite resources is Minitab Help.
    I have been a Lean Six Sigma practitioner for 10+ years after 20 years in engineering.

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