The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency (Sloan Technology)

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9780140260809: The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency (Sloan Technology)
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A young man named Frederick Winslow Taylor chose a factory over Harvard,and his decision has made all the difference in the world as we know it today.

Using what he'd learned as an apprentice in a machine shop, Taylor forged his industrial philosophy, Scientific Management--the source of our fierce, unholy obsession with "efficiency." According to management guru Peter Drucker, Taylorism is perhaps the "most powerful as well as the most lasting contribution America has made to Western thought since the Federalist Papers."

Evoking a time when the industrial world was young, new, and exciting , Robert Kanigel illuminates the man whose ceaseless quest for "the one best way" changed the very texture and purpose of twentieth-century life.

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Though not nearly as well known as Ford or Edison, Frederick Winslow Taylor's influence on the modern age is no less significant; management guru Peter Drucker calls Taylor "the most powerful as well as the most lasting contribution America has made to Western thought since the Federalist Papers." Although Taylor's name may have been forgotten by the masses, the management practices he implemented have become the worldwide standard for efficiency. Taylor invented what became known as "Scientific Management," or simply "Taylorism," an approach to organizing factories and offices that placed workers within a rigid system designed for maximum productivity. Taylor broke down the machinery and management of industrialization, measuring each movement with stopwatch precision to deduce how the whole could operate more efficiently. A man perfectly suited to his times, he lived during the peak of the Industrial Revolution, providing him a grand stage for displaying his ideas. Today his legacy may be viewed by some as a sort of curse; the modern workplace he helped to create pits employees in a race against the clock, virtual slaves to a system created nearly a century ago. The One Best Way is a fascinating history of the man who revolutionized the way we do business and, in turn, the way we live.

From the Back Cover:

"In the past man has been first. In the future the System will be first", predicted Frederick Winslow Taylor, the first efficiency expert and model for all the stopwatch-clicking engineers who stalk the factories and offices of the industrial world. In 1874, eighteen-year-old Taylor abandoned his wealthy family's plans for him to attend Harvard, and instead went to work as a lowly apprentice in a Philadelphia machine shop, shuttling between the manicured hedges of his family's home and the hot, cussing, dirty world of the shop floor. As he rose through the ranks of management, he began the time-and-motion studies for which he would become famous, and forged his industrial philosophy, Scientific Management. To organized labor, Taylor was a slave-driver. To the bosses, he was an eccentric who raised wages while ruling the factory floor with a stopwatch. To himself, he was a misunderstood visionary who, under the banner of Science, would confer prosperity on all and abolish the old class hatreds. To millions today who feel they give up too much to their jobs, Taylor is the source of that fierce, unholy obsession with "efficiency" that marks modern life. The assembly line; the layout of our kitchens; the ways our libraries, fastfood restaurants, and even our churches are organized all owe much to this driven man, who broke every job into its parts, sliced and trimmed and timed them, and remolded what was left into the work of the twentieth century.

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