Six Sigma is a methodology for striving towards perfection in the quality of output for manufacturers. Six Sigma is a form of statistical process control, which means it’s a data-based approach to eliminating defects in a process.

Six Sigma goes hand-in-hand with lean methodologies for many manufacturers. While Six Sigma focuses on reducing process variation and enhancing process control, lean focuses on eliminating waste from processes. Combined, Lean and Six Sigma can help manufacturers become more efficient across their operations while improving the quality of their products and services. As such, this list has some overlap with our list of 10 Essential Lean Manufacturing Books.

Whether you’ve just started learning about Six Sigma, training for your green belt or black belt certification, or looking to brush up on your practice, there’s no shortage of reading material to help you improve your Six Sigma knowledge. Here are 10 great books about Six Sigma to put on your reading list:

1. The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook

By T.M. Kubiak and Donald W. Benbow

The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook is a comprehensive study companion for anyone preparing for the black belt certification examination, as well as a solid reference for Six Sigma professionals. The handbook, published by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), has been recently updated with new exercises, tables and figures, and content to address and clarify more difficult concepts.

2. The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook

By Michael L. Jones and John Maxey

While compact, The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook is a comprehensive reference for Lean and Six Sigma tools and concepts. The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook features summaries and examples of the 70 most important tools in Lean Six Sigma. The book groups tools by purpose and usage–including expert advice on how to determine which tool is best for different purposes.

3. Statistics for Six Sigma Black Belts

By Matthew A. Barsalou

This book is a perfect companion for the Six Sigma black belt who needs a quick reference for a comprehensive list of statistical methods. The methods are organized according to the DMAIC phases in which they are typically used, allowing users to quickly find the information they need.

4. The Six Sigma Way: How to Maximize the Impact of Your Change and Improvement Efforts

By Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, and Roland Cavanagh

The Six Sigma Way, originally published in 2000, was one of the definitive books on Six Sigma and one of the first to explain the benefits of Six Sigma. The book has been updated to reflect the state of Six Sigma now, including lessons learned and debunking myths. Check out their practical implementation guidelines, case studies, and insights from practitioners.

5. The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook: An Implementation Guide for Process Improvement Teams

By Peter S. Pande

The Six Sigma Way Team Fieldbook is the practical companion to The Six Sigma Way. The book provides a practical reference for team leaders and members alike. Read to learn how to identify necessary improvements in products, services, and processes. This book includes hands-on worksheets, checklists, and tips to help gather data for improvements.

6. Six Sigma: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide: A Complete Training & Reference Guide for White Belts, Yellow Belts, Green Belts, and Black Belts

By Craig Joseph Setter & The Council for Six Sigma Certification

This guide, published by The Council for Six Sigma Certification, offers a comprehensive guide geared toward beginner or advanced Six Sigma students, anyone training towards a Six Sigma certification, and companies looking to train their employees. The book provides an introduction to Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma concepts across diverse industries.

7. What is Lean Six Sigma?

By Michael L. George and David Rowlands

What is Lean Six Sigma? It offers a broad overview of how Lean Six Sigma can help improve your workplace, meet your goals, and better serve your customers. This book helps readers understand the “four keys” of Lean Six Sigma–speed and quality, process improvement, working together for maximum gain, and data-based decision making–in the context of their own organizations.

8. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt

The Goal is a must-read for anyone studying production systems. The book, set as a fast-paced thriller-style novel, elucidates the importance of defining goals that set organizations on a path to continuous improvement. The Goal follows the story of a plant manager who has 90 days to save his plant from closing–and must break out of his conventional ways of thinking in order to succeed.

9. The Six Sigma Handbook: A Complete Guide for Green Belts, Black Belts, and Managers at All Levels

By Thomas Pyzdek and Paul A. Keller

Thomas Pyzdek and Paul A. Keller’s Six Sigma Handbook is geared toward managers or quality professionals who are looking for a guide to basic Six Sigma tools and statistics. The book provides an overview of the Six Sigma management philosophy as well as a detailed guide to commonly used problem-solving strategies.

10. Juran’s Quality Essentials: For Leaders

By Joseph A. DeFeo and Joseph M. Juran

Written by Joseph Juran, the father of modern-day quality management, and Joseph DeFeo, president of the Juran Institute, Juran’s Quality Essentials provides a practical action plan for applying quality management methods in order to improve business performance.

For more, check out our guide to Quality Management Systems.

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