How Toyota Became #1, and Will Again


I've mentioned this book before, coming out Nov 1, it's called How Toyota Became #1: Leadership Lessons from the World's Greatest Car Company.

I had the exciting chance to have dinner tonight with the author, David Magee. I have, in my possession, four autographed copies of the book, courtesy of David. One is claimed by a Lean Blog reader who volunteered to do an early review (and I'm keeping one for myself so I can review it). I still need to think of a contest or a way to give away the other two books. Maybe a copy goes to someone who comes up with a reader contest idea!

It's ironic and probably somewhat insignificant, in the big picture, that I got these copies on the day when headlines said “GM regains #1 position over Toyota” (link to a CNN article). That's probably a short-term blip rather than a wholesale shift in the industry, don't you think?

Here are David's previous books(also available through Ignore the one on orthopedics, different author!

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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. What I found interesting in the article on GM/Toyota was not the number of vehicles sold, but the profit per vehicle. Toyota is clearly the leader in that respect. My first thought was who cares how many you sell, if you’re not making any income?

    Toyota will win in the long run because they have the capital to reinvest in R&D, therefore generating continuous improvement. That is the difference between GM’s cost-cutting Lean (or possibly a twist on LAME as Mark describes it) and Toyota’s Lean based on the Pillars of success – Eliminate Waste and Respect for People.

  2. >>I still need to think
    >>of a contest or a way
    >>to give away
    >>the other two books.

    How about ‘a haiku on lean’ competition.

  3. I’ve read the first four chapters and have enjoyed the book so far. It’s a pretty quick read.

    I know a lot about Toyota already and I learned a few tidbits that were new. The comments from Gary Convis and Jim Press are always interesting. I learned some more detail about how Toyota uses videotape to analyze work (with the people who do the work), identifying waste and which method is best for the Standardized Work.

    So far, very recommended.

  4. Hi Mark,

    How about an essay contest that asks the question, “What do you think is the #1 company in America, and why do you think they achieved #1 status?”

    The winning essay could then be featured as a blog post.

    This book looks really interesting, the kaizen concept is one that I have been introduced to recently and I am interested in reading more about it.



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