About ”This is Lean”

The Efficiency Paradox

Resolving the Efficiency Paradox

Lean is the most widespread management philosophy of our time and is currently present in every industry, yet the concept is still vaguely defined and widely misunderstood.

This is Lean – Resolving the efficiency paradox was launched in October 2011 and has been translated into 14 languages. The book has sold over 220,000 copies. By using clear, concise language and insightful examples, the book has brought greater clarification to the essence of lean and revolutionized top-executives and employees understanding of what lean actually is.

The book also introduces the idea of the efficiency paradox, which claims that organisations’ understanding of “true efficiency” is incorrect. It suggests that when organisations focus too much on utilising resources efficiently – the traditional and most common form of efficiency – it tends to lead to an increase in the amount of work there is to do. Consequently, the more organisations try to be efficient (being busy), the more inefficient they will actually become (taking care of non-value adding but necessary work). This is Lean addresses how to resolve this paradox.


Niklas & Pär

Niklas Modig

Was a researcher at Stockholm School of Economics between 2004 and 2018, and was a visiting researcher at University of Tokyo between 2006 and 2008. Fluent in Japanese, Niklas gained the opportunity to spend thousands of hours inside Toyota’s service organisation in an attempt to understand how its philosophy can be applied in non-manufacturing contexts. Niklas has assumed a leading position as an inspirational lecturer within the fields of lean service and lean management.


Pär Åhlström

Holds the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg chair in Business Administration at Stockholm School of Economics. He previously held positions at Chalmers University of Technology and London Business School. With twenty year s of experience researching lean, he is one of the pioneers in the field. He has published frequently on lean in manufacturing, product development and, most recently, in services. His research is widely cited and he is also an award-winning teacher.


Britta Wallgren

Country President Capio in Sweden

“This Is Lean is a very good introduction to lean thinking and a great help in creating a common picture and language throughout the organisation. First, top management read the book and had a workshop with one of the authors. After that we decided to buy every manager a copy.”

Professor Takahiro Fujimoto

University of Tokyo

“Lean is an apparently easy term to remember, but a rather difficult concept to understand accurately. Many executives worldwide still think the real essence of lean production is cost-cutting, which is wrong. This Is Lean is one of the most concise, easy-to-grasp, and fun- to-read books on the topic.”

Professor Bob Emiliani

Central Connecticut State University

“This Is Lean is a wonderful and original book that will do much to help people gain an accurate understanding of lean management. It presents ideas and concepts in unique ways that are easy for anyone to understand and apply. It is a fantastic book. I absolutely love it. I wish I had written it!”

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Company edition

Get a tailor-made version of the book

Creating a common mindset

Companies and organizations began to use This is Lean as a tool for developing a common understanding. Top-management teams read the book and used it as a base for discussion when evaluating if lean was something they should implement. Some companies distributed the book to all managers within their organization with the message “this should be our view of what lean is”. Other companies took this further and 100% of employees read the book.

In response, we developed a “Company edition” which is a tailor-made version of the book. It can include a number of company-specific “add-ons” and contributions. For example, the company’s logo can appear on the cover and a specific foreword can be written by a company representative, usually the CEO. It can also include texts written by the top-management team between chapters.

A company edition can be tailor-made in any way the company chooses to suit their individual needs. By including company-specific information, it is no longer just a book, it becomes an asset in the development of the company. It serves as a symbol for the whole transformation program, “this is our way forward”.

For more information about Company Editions, please contact info@rheologica.com