The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
The Goal is about science and education. I believe that these two words have been abused to the extent that their original meanings have been lost in a fog of too much respect and mystery. Science for me, and for the vast majority of respectable scientists, is not about the secrets of nature or even about truths. Science is simply the method we use to try and postulate a minimum set of assumptions that can explain, through a straightforward logical derivation, the existence of many phenomena of nature.
The Law of Conservation of Energy of physics is not truth. It is just an assumption that is valid in explaining a tremendous amount of natural phenomena. Such an assumption can never be proven since even an infinite number of phenomena that can be explained by it does not prove its universal application. On the other hand, it can be disproved by just a single phenomenon that cannot be explained by the assumption. This disproving does not detract from the validity of the assumption. It just highlights the need or even the existence of another assumption that is more valid. This is the case with the assumption of the conservation of energy which was replaced by Einstein’s more global—more valid —postulation of the conservation of energy and mass. Einstein’s assumption is not true to the same extent that the previous one was not “true’’.
Somehow we have restricted the connotation of science to a very selective, limited assemblage of natural phenomena. We refer to science when we deal with physics, chemistry or biology. We should also realize that there are many more phenomena of nature that do not fall into these categories, for instance those phenomena we see in organizations, particularly those in industrial organizations. If these phenomena are not phenomena of nature, what are they? Do we want to place what we see in organizations to the arena of fiction rather than into reality?
This book is an attempt to show that we can postulate a very small number of assumptions and utilize them to explain a very large spectrum of industrial phenomena. You the reader can judge whether or not the logic of the book’s derivation from its assumptions to the phenomena we see daily in our plants is so flawless that you call it common sense. Incidentally, common sense is not so common and is the highest praise we give to a chain of logical conclusions. If you do, you basically have taken science from the ivory tower of academia and put it where it belongs, within the reach of every one of us and made it applicable to what we see around us.
What I have attempted to show with this book is that no exceptional brain power is needed to construct a new science or to expand on an existing one. What is needed is just the courage to face inconsistencies and to avoid running away from them just because “that’s the way it was always done’’. I dared to interweave into the book a family life struggle, which I assume is quite familiar to any manager who is to some extent obsessed with his work. This was not done just to make the book more popular, but to highlight the fact that we tend to disqualify many phenomena of nature as irrelevent as far as science is concerned.
I have also attempted to show in the book the meaning of education. I sincerely believe that the only way we can learn is through our deductive process. Presenting us with final conclusions is not a way that we learn. At best it is a way that we are trained. That’s why I tried to deliver the message contained in the book in the Socratic way. Jonah, in spite of his knowledge of the solutions, provoked Alex to derive them by supplying the question marks instead of the exclamation marks. I believe that because of this method, you the reader will deduce the answers well before Alex Rogo succeeds in doing so. If you find the book entertaining maybe you will agree with me that this is the way to educate, this is the way we should attempt to write our textbooks. Our textbooks should not present us with a series of end results but rather a plot that enables the reader to go through the deduction process himself. If I succeed by this book to change somewhat your perception of science and education, this is my true reward.
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