Eli Lives

No one really dies or “passes away” as long as their influence on our world through their enduring ideas remain. The genius that inspired me in my early lean and six sigma training will be a gift for generations of those who simply want to make things better throughout the spectrum of life activities from personal to professional. Few have had the skills to reveal complex concepts in simple scenarios as this master did routinely. Miss the man because, selfishly, I will no longer be the recipient of his new ideas — of course! Know that my journey along the road the ideas and concepts that he presented is far from over — of course, as well! That each of us could contribute 1% of what this gave to us…

A great teacher

I was attending a class while with PricewaterhouseCoopers and never forgot how much impact his teaching had on consultants and those within industry. He will be missed.

Gary G. Olson

Just a huge man….

Todos los que lo seguimos, vamos a extrañarlo infinitamente.

Sin duda cambio mi vida, y mi forma de ver las relaciones entre las cosas y los procesos …..

Simplemente gracias …

Just Thanks, for all you give to me.

Marcelo Colella


Nekredeble kiel libroj povas ŝanĝi vivojn ! Dankon.

Dankon pro la senlaca instruado al ni kiel klare pensi. Viaj ideoj kongruas kun tutmonda homara komunikado per Esperanto, kaj ankaŭ por lingvo instruado DBR taŭgas.

Merci pour cette inépuisable enseignement à penser juste. Vos idées sont cohérentes avec le désir d’une communication libre pour toute l’humanité par l’espéranto, et la solution DBR fonctionne également dans l’enseignement des langues.

Cyrille Hurstel, France

TOC at Iowa State

I met Eli in Skokie, Illinois in November, 1994 when The Play was being presented. This was the start of a new career for me. In 1996 I met David Bergland when he became an endowed chair Professor at Iowa State. He and his endowed chair budget supported my training to teach MSW, production, distribution, and critical chain. I have taught these courses since Fall 1997. The last will be in May 2012.

I am really grateful to Eli for the body of knowledge that has enabled me to teach the TOC courses. I get responses from students about TOC fairly often. I believe they are trying to use the tools in their work but have no measurable data.

The most significant event for me was in a discussion with Eli. I asked him if reducing variation to zero (theoretically) would reduce the 5 Focusing Steps to the Simplex Method of Linear Programming. He thought for awhile and responded that this was true. He added, “The 5 Focusing Steps are the foundation of Theory of Constraints.”

I will miss the opportunity to see him, hear him speak, and have a chat with him. I express my sympathy to Rami and Efrat. He will always be remembered.

A Tribute To Eli Goldratt

Dr Eliyahu M. Goldratt is my hero !!

He changed my life, my families life and my customers lives.

Dr Alan Barnard introduced me to the Goldratt teaching and philosophy over ten years ago. I met Eli at various workshops and seminars and he stimulated my mind and broke many of my erroneous paradigms.

What a legacy he has left at his untimely death. A legacy I believe will remain in perpetuity.

You his family and close friends must be so proud of him for what he has done for humanity, its a awesome testimony.

My sincerest condolences to you who are his family, we mourn with you, with deep respect.

I pray that his phenomenal contribution should be acknowledged with some sort of prize, such as the Nobel Prize for business.

Yours Sincerely

Iain & David Peters [the TOC converts]

Eli taught me nothing is impossible

It was December 21, 1983 when the company I was with decided to purchase the “OPT System” I was to be trained as an Opt Analyst learning the OPT methodology, implementation, and the programming languages of OPT/SERVE/PROBE. We were the first to be trained from Canada.

I was told that OPT is a “little different”. So off I was sent to Mildfort, CT, USA for extensive training.

Eli, gave a inspiring and welcoming speech and told us that as Opt Analysts we are are going to be the best at what we do and that there is nothing that is impossible.

You could stay late as you wanted for training, and very, very late one night I was trying to figure out a very complicated analysis. I heard a noise in the hall and was surprised it was Eli. Well anyone who has been touched by Eli’s kindness and generosity knows what happened next. Eli insisted on helping me then and there.

I have never forgotten it.

Thank you Eli, for your vision, for your leadership, and for teaching all of us world wide that understand the OPT concepts… that we can do the impossible. But most important of all …. your kindness.

My sincere condolences and thoughts to all Family and Friends.

Marty Thomason, Pickering, Ontario, Canada

Never To Be Forgotten

I spent 6 years working with Eli in the UK and without doubt this time changed the entire direction of my life.

But I want to share one story, of the time Eli, Oded Cohen and I spent a day with a large UK engineering company – a memory that will stay with me very fondly forever.

We had set up a whole day of presentations and meetings, starting with a presentation by Eli of The Competitive Edge (later called The Race) to 35 MDs and Manufacturing Directors. It went fantastically well. Then we had a straight on meeting with the CFO. Not brilliant but good. Then lunch with the Board (7 of whom had all been to the same private school in the UK – this was very, very English). Aside from the clash of cultures (suits and ties versus open neck shirt, cigar and yamulka!), lunch was good.
Then the finale – a presentation of The Competitive Edge by Eli to The Board. I set up the acetates (long before Powerpoint), turned on the projector, introduced Eli, who then decided to turn it off again and pick an intellectual fight with the Chairman for an hour. Eli was rightly of the view that his company was, in every TOC way, inefficient. As one of the other directors said to me on the way out, “He is right, of course, but maybe there was a better way to say it!”

There was a ban on even mentioning Eli’s name for a month, but then 6 months later, we signed a deal and proved Eli’s point.

I will cetainly never forget the day or the drive home in Oded’s Volvo!

In my heart and mind always…

One of a kind

Eli, a man who changed my life for the better.

Thank you, rest in peace.

A Remembrance of Eli

Eli Goldratt’s passing is a terribly sad thing for me and for the thousands of people he impacted directly, and the millions who will ultimately benefit from his life’s work. Over the last 25 years I have had the great good fortune to have worked closely with Eli, to have been his friend, and to have him as a mentor. He has impacted my life in so many ways and to a degree that is still not fully visible to me. I have so many memories and so many things I have learned from him, but there is one in particular that has been echoing in my mind almost continually since his untimely death.

I have been recalling the several times that we discussed his choosing of “Jonah” as the name of the guru-like character in his bestselling book The Goal, and for his subsequent master course by the same name where he taught people the powerful thinking skills the character employed to help Alex Rogo and his team derive solutions to save their plant.

The name obviously derives from the biblical story of Jonah and the whale, in which the prophet Jonah is called by God to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, the wicked enemies of the people of Israel. But instead of heeding God’s call Jonah attempts to run away by taking a boat to Spain. God sends a storm to threaten the boat and when the crew discovers that the storm was sent by God who was angered by Jonah, they throw him overboard to save the vessel. God then sends a mighty whale to save Jonah, who spends several days in the belly of the whale repenting for not heeding God’s calling for him. The whale spits out the repentant Jonah on a beach and he proceeds to enter a hostile Nineveh and cause them to repent for the evil ways.

While it is easy for anyone who knew Goldratt, or heard him speak to see the obvious parallels between himself and the Jonah character Jonah of the book, this is not how Eli viewed it. Eli described Jonah as “the reluctant prophet,” reluctant to heed his calling because he feared it was too difficult, too much for him to accomplish. He felt that we were all reluctant prophets, apprehensive that we can measure up to our highest calling. It was no accident that he chose the name Jonah again for the course that taught people the thinking skills used so effectively by the character in the book. Eli felt that great things were within the reach of ALL of us, that each of us has both a higher calling, and the ability to measure up to that calling. He directly encouraged me and the others close to him to set “a lofty goal” for our lives, one where there was significant doubt that we would be able to achieve it.

He spent his life both being a model of this belief, reaching beyond the sky and achieving remarkable success, and instilling in thousands the skills and belief to enable them to do the same. One of Eli’s favorite books was “Illusions” by Richard Bach, which captured so much of what he was about and what he believed about the hidden potential in each us. This can be summed up in one of the book’s passages: “We are never given a wish without the ability to achieve it.” For Eli this was much more than a charming concept, it was at the core of how he lived his life, and what he wished for all people to understand as richly as he did.

When I think of Jonah, I don’t think of Eli, I think of each of us, that we are indeed the reluctant prophets, capable of being so much more than we typically imagine. Eli fully expected that people will far surpass his achievements, that what he has done, while extraordinary, is within the reach of all of us. Jonah, after all, was successful in accomplishing the great feat of causing Nineveh to repent.

While I don’t think Eli thought of himself in this way, for me Eli was not Jonah, but rather God’s great whale, sent to save each of us from wasting the gifts God gave us. He lived in this way, tirelessly seeking to demonstrate to people their own hidden capabilities, their own enormous potential to make the world a better place. I see myself clearly in Jonah’s place and Eli has been my whale, saving me from running away from myself and from my potential, gently guiding me to see a higher path and validating my ability to achieve that calling.

I remember characterizing the Theory of Constraints, the great body of knowledge and skills he developed, like this at one of his conferences almost 20 years ago. I said: “Theory of Constraints teaches us the power of ourselves.” This was his gift to me and to all who will listen. We are good. We are capable of everything we can wish for. Each of us has the potential to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. What greater gift can any of us receive?

When I think of Eli, I can find no better metaphor than God’s great whale from the story of Jonah. He literally rescued my life and that of so many others from frustration and wanting, and pointed me in a higher, nobler, more rewarding direction. I am immensely grateful to him for his countless gifts to me, but for this one most all. Now it is up to me to hold those gifts dear and fulfill the legacy he has given me. I will always miss him, but I know that he will always be with me.

Kevin Fox