7 Best Six Sigma Books of All Time

Many people think six sigma concept is too hard to understand. In this article, we will evaluate and show you the list of best six sigma books to read.

Do You Need Six Sigma Books?

From the inception of six sigma in the 1920s by Walter A. Shewhart, six sigma is thriving and has become the guide for business for quality improvement teams to improve process capability in the production and operations system and tools for improving quality in other fields such as customer service.

Finding the Best Six Sigma Books

To survey the landscape of the books, we search on various lean manufacturing blogs, six sigma blogs, forums and websites of experts in six sigma certifications. What we've found is that most book recommendations are done lightly. They don't take into account the most important principle of six sigma, namely, "Voice of the Customer" or VOC which is traditionally done via user interview questions.

In order to determine which book should be recommended, we collect data as below,

Firstly, we collect the name of the books from Amazon.com. The books dedicated to lean manufacturing concepts like value stream mapping, lean enterprise, lean analytics and change management are removed from the list.

Then, we check each book if it got the endorsement or positive review from international business leaders and six sigma gurus.

Secondly, we turn to a technique called Altmetrics. Altmetrics are a set of metrics used to measure the impact of books, scientific articles, videos, presentations etc. Moreover, Altmetrics use data that are available to the public. In this section, we will demonstrate how we collect Altmetrics and how they reflect Voice of the Customer.

- WorldCat: WorldCat is the world's most comprehensive network of the library. When you access WorldCat site, you can search for publications that you would like to read and it will show you how many copies are available and where the publications are stored.

WorldCat reflects the "Voice of Library Staffs" who are trained to spot, acquire and store quality contents.

- Google Scholar: Google scholar shows how many times each publication is cited by other scientific articles, trade publications and related books.

"Citation Counts" reflects the "Voice of Authors and Writers". A book with high citation counts means it's widely accepted by peers (one citation is equivalent to one vote).

- Amazon.com: the last Altmetric we're going to use is "number of reviews written on Amazon.com"

We know for the fact that business people buy the books on Amazon.com then the number of positive reviews (3 stars or more) of every edition of a book will be used as the last metric (one positive review is equivalent to one vote). Again, book reviews reflect the "Voice of Practitioners".

Then, we combine the composite scores and rank the books by total score. Finally, we remove out-of-print and obsolete books from the list.

Best Six Sigma Books are as below:

  1. Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide To 100 Tools For Improving Quality And Speed by Michael L. George and John Maxey

  2. Six Sigma For Dummies by Craig Gygi and Bruce Williams

  3. Statistics for Six Sigma Made Easy! by Warren Brussee

  4. Lean Six Sigma For Service by Michael L. George

  5. Six Sigma Way: How to Maximize the Impact of Your Change and Improvement Efforts by Peter Pande and Robert Neuman

  6. Lean Six Sigma Guide to Doing More With Less by Mark O. George

  7. Six Sigma Revolution: How General Electric And Others Turned Process Into Profits by George Eckes
Please note that we don't include the books like six sigma black belt handbook or six sigma green belt study guide (or books dedicated to certified six sigma green belts or black belts test) because we believe our books recommendations already cover major six sigma methodology.

Can you use these books in other areas like lean enterprise or supply chain management?

Do you like six sigma books on this list?

- Snee, R. D. (2004). Six–Sigma: the evolution of 100 years of business improvement methodology. International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 1(1), 4-20.

- Williams, C., & Padula, D. (2017). The Evolution of Impact Indicators: From bibliometrics to altmetrics. Almetric. com Scholastica. 2015.

Books We Recommend

Supply Chain Management Book

Purchasing Book

Inventory Control Book

Lean Manufacturing Book

International Business Book

Operations Management Book

Customer Service Book

Project Management Book

Last review and update: September 16, 2019
All contents are written by Ben Benjabutr unless marked as [Guest Commentary]

About the Author and Editor:
Ben Benjabutr is the author and editor of SupplyChainOpz. He holds an M.Sc. in Logistics Management with 10+ years of experience in supply chain management. You can connect with Ben via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.