My Stack of Books: Raw Material and WIP


I love books. I'd also love to have more time to read books, or finish books. People often ask me what I'm reading. Here's what I'm trying to read or am wanting to read:

“WIP” — started, but haven't finished (doesn't mean I don't like the book)

  • Getting the Right Things Done
  • Leadership for Smooth Patient Flow
  • Managing the Professional Services Firm
  • Errors, Medicine, and the Law
  • The Health Care Value Chain
  • The Baptist Health Care Journey to Excellence

“Raw Material” — books that are sitting here, but haven't started (in order I'd like to start them):

Ah, the waste of overproduction. My head tells me it is waste to buy books faster than I can read them, but I can't help it.

We're all busy and don't have enough time, especially with so many good lean books coming out on the market. Maybe we need a lean book summary service, along the lines of those business book summary clubs?

What are you reading, or waiting to read? What's in your book inventory that hasn't been converted to “finished goods”??

A note on the Strategos book. There's an endorsement quote from me on the back, I did look at an electronic preview copy, so I've sort of read it, I guess.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Your backlog is pretty good, as far as reading backlogs go. Anyways, what helped me reduce mine was signing up for Amazon Prime: that way, I knew I could get pretty much any book within two days (often one day), so there was no longer any excuse for having more than one book lying around that I hadn’t started.

    Well worth the $75/year, or whatever it costs: push lean out to your suppliers.

  2. My backlog is similar, but I also get a stack of books each week from publishers for review and possible inclusion on Superfactory… many of which have absolutely nothing to do with manufacturing or leadership. My wife gets incredibly annoyed at all the stacks, so I end up taking them into the office and giving most of them away. I always wanted a nice library with overstuffed chairs surrounded by tall racks of books, but not with this wife!

    I second the vote for Amazon Prime. I’ve made back that $75 very quickly.

  3. Good point on keeping the raw material at Amazon’s warehouse. I’m a “Prime” member and it certainly does pay for itself (not just books, but other items).

  4. Oh books. My weakness. In my previous career I was a librarian – WIP – some that are unread really just become “reference books” and this week I was able to help someone out with a book they needed, I had and now they are my client.

    I’ve had great luck with even before they were an eBay company and often think I’m renting books – buy them cheap; sell them back or give them away.

    Rule of Thumb: Two shelves must be book free if I want to buy new material – Sorting and Sweeping are big deals in my office. Oh, yes, the ceiling is 13 ft high and one wall is all book shelves – I guess I never really left the library.

    Linda Fayerweather

  5. W.I.P.:

    “Profit Beyond Measure”
    “Toyota Product Development System”
    “Toyota Way Field Guide”

    Raw Materials:

    “Relevance Lost”
    “Relevance Regained”
    “Purple Cow” (marketing book)
    “Unleashing the Ideavirus” (marketing book)


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