Breaking The Wheel

Management & Operations Resources

Full disclosure: this page makes use of Amazon affiliate links. If you use those links to purchase their respective products, Breaking the Wheel will make a small commission (that comes out of Amazon’s pockets, not yours). In short, purchasing these weighty tomes of knowledge helps support the blog at no cost to you. I am only putting up products that I believe in and that I think can benefit you.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, Eric Ries

This is an essential book for any professional’s library. Yes, it is nominally aimed at entrepreneurs, but it’s as applicable to marketing and operations. This is a book about how to test your ideas, how to measure them objectively, and how to reduce the cycle time between rounds of discovery. One of the best, most practical books on management I’ve ever read.

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail–but Some Don’t, Nate Silver

Nate Silver and his site, fivethirtyeight.com, famously predicted the electoral outcome of all 50 states in the 2012 presidential election. The guy understands data, statistics, and forecasts like few other people. But The Signal and the Noise isn’t a textbook or a primer of mathematics. Instead it’s a fascinating and very readable dive into the concepts behind forecasts and predictions. If you’re looking for a way to wrap your head around big data and analytics, look no further.

Managing Business Process Flows (3rd Edition), Sunil Chopra, Eitan Zemel, Jan A. Van Mieghem, Sudhakar D. Deshmukh

This is a straight up text book and it’s dry as a cracker. But it does a great job of walking you through the mathematics of operations management science, building up all of the crucial equations one formula at a time. If you want to scientifically manage any sort of process at your studio, this book will show you how to measure success. Get whatever edition is the most recent.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, Eliyahu Goldratt

This is a weird one: it’s an operations textbook that passes itself off as a novel. Using a struggling manufacturing plant as a petri dish, Goldratt socratically walks the reader though the key, often counter-intuitive, concepts of operations management. There’s an entirely unnecessary, vaguely chauvinistic subplot about the protagonist’s failing marriage that provides no value other than gratuitous drama. Feel free to skip those parts.

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, Robert Coran

I’ve always had a soft spot for the iconoclasts. The folks who walked up to the status quo, looked it straight in the eye, and flipped it the bird. John Boyd was such a man. A fighter pilot turned warrior-philosopher, Boyd refused to accept the notion that dogfighting was pure art, and proceeded to demonstrate the science behind it. Then he turned his attention to the art of war in general, establishing concepts like “fourth generation warefare.” In the process he became a legend and revolutionized how militaries all over the world think about warfare.

While this biography won’t teach you anything about game development, it is inspirational in demonstrating how rigorous thinking can be applied to the most esoteric, seemingly unknowable topics.

HBR IdeaCast

The official podcast of the Harvard Business Review, the premier magazine and source of casestudies for business schools. If you want to stay on top of the latest in business related thought leadership and research, this is your show. And if you’re running your own studio, you should want to stay on top of that. For serious.

HBR IdeaCast
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