Top 8 Books Every Quality Professional Should Read

Top 8 Books for Quality Professionals

top 8 books for quality professionalsWhat books should be on every quality professional’s reading list? This can be a controversial question—ask ten quality professionals and you may get ten different answers. However, there are certain classics and thought leaders that stand the test of time. ASQ staff compiled a list of the top eight books on quality tools, concepts, and ideas ever published.

Now, it’s your turn. Which of these books have you read? What additions or suggestions do you have for the best of quality books list?

1. The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition, by Nancy R. Tague

Quality Toolbox

This is a classic reference and instruction book for new and seasoned quality professionals alike.


It includes a variety of methods, tools, and techniques, from the basics to those created by the author. If there’s just one book everyone in quality should read, it’s probably Quality Toolbox.

2. Juran’s Quality Handbook, Seventh Edition, by Joseph A. De Feo

A thorough revision of the bestselling handbook that has defined quality management and operational excellence for more than 50 years!

3. Root Cause Analysis: The Core of Problem Solving and Corrective Action by Duke Okes

The focus of the book is not on statistics but on the logic of finding causes.

Root Cause Analysis

It describes how to solve problems via the analytical process through figures, diagrams, and tools useful for helping make our thinking visible.

The primary focus is on solving repetitive problems.

4.Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy, by Masaaki Imai

Commonsense Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy is the definitive, fully up-to-date guide to continuous improvement in the workplace.

5. The Essential Deming, edited by Joyce Nilsson Orsini PhD

The title says it all. In this book, Fordham University professor and Deming expert Joyce Orsini presents Deming’s most important management

The Essential Demingprinciples. The book is a wealth of articles, papers, lectures, and notes on a wide range of topics, but the focus is on Deming’s main message: quality and operations are all about systems, not individual performance; the system has to be designed so that the worker can perform well.

6.Quality Audits for Improved Performance, Third Edition, by Dennis R. Arter

Perfect for anyone charged with implementing a quality audit program or those performing the audit, this book is an ideal reference on the established techniques of quality auditing.

7. Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product by Walter A. Shewhart

This classic by quality giant Walter A. Shewhart laid the foundation for the

Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product

modern quality control discipline, beginning as an attempt to develop a scientific basis for attaining economic control of quality. In his search for better knowledge of economy in manufacturing, Shewhart touches upon all aspects of statistical quality control.

8. Process Quality Control: Troubleshooting and Interpretation of Data, Fourth Edition, by Ellis R. Ott, Edward G. Schilling, Dean V. Neubauer

Ellis Ott taught generations of quality practitioners to be explorers of the truth through the collection and graphical portrayal of data. From a simple plea to “plot the data” to devising a graphical analytical tool called the analysis of means (ANOM), Ott demonstrated that process knowledge is to be gained by seeking the information contained within the data.


21 thoughts on “Top 8 Books Every Quality Professional Should Read”

  1. Well the first to are more like reference books, rather than something you would actually “read”. But definitively are two of the mandatory ones in my bookshelf. For me What is Total Quality Control? from Kaouru Ishikawa is a must also.

  2. I teach the CQA, CQE, CMQ/OE professional exam prep classes as well as many quality and statistics related courses for my employer. My recommended library of books that every Quality Engineer should includes many of the titles listed above, but also:

    Process Quality Control – Schilling 0-87389-655-6
    Quality Audits for Improved Performance – Arter 0-87389-263-1
    Statistical Thinking – Hoerl, Snee 0-534-38158-8
    Statistical Methods for Quality Control – Kume 4-906224-34-2
    Introduction to Statistical Quality Control – Montgomery 0-471-30353-4
    Implementing Six Sigma – Breyfogle 0-471-26572-1
    Acceptance Sampling in Quality Control – Schilling 978-1-58488-952-6
    Fourth Generation Management – Joiner 0-07-032715-7
    Understanding Variation – Wheeler 0-945320-35-3
    Total Quality Control – Feigenbaum 0-07-020354-7
    Quality Planning & Analysis – Juran and Gryna 0-07-039368-0
    Understanding Statistical Process Control – Wheeler 0-945320-13-2
    Quality Function Deployment – Cohen 0-201-63330-2
    Advanced Topics in Statistical Process Control -Wheeler 0-945320-45-0

    and my personal favorite around change management…
    Journey to the Emerald City – Connors and Smith 0-7352-0052-1

  3. “Juran Managerial Breakthrough”, and “Out of the Crisis” are also the must to read.

  4. “Today and Tomorrow” by Henry Ford is the basic organizational foundation upon which the Father’s of Quality (Deming, Juran, Wheeler, Freigenbaum, Ishikawa, Harrington, Pyzdek, Crosby) build their theories about quality.

  5. I would think there would be more leadership and personal skills training such as “One Minute Manager” and “Getting to Yes”

    1. I would reccommend “Never Split the Difference” by Chief FBI Negotatiator” Chris Voss, “Getting to yes” is the old way of negotaiting. Getting to No is the real answer, until you get to no the person your trying to do a deal with wont tell you what their problem is. Also check out “start with no” by Jim Champ

  6. I would add “The Change Agent’s Handbook: A Survival Guide for Quality Improvement Champions” by Hutton. I value it for its clear synthesis of many of the above listed topics and its guidance on getting the ‘people’ side of quality management right. It is a great resource, particularly for those new to quality.

  7. Hmm. Well, there is nothing wrong with classics. Although I try to read (or at least glance through) every newly published QA-related book I can get my paws on, here are a few (not on the list) I find myself picking up often for the stuff I do:
    The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox ISBN 0-88427-178-1;
    Project Management by Harold Kerzner, Ph.D. ISBN 0-442-24879-2;
    Any Schaum’s Outline on Business Statistics;
    At least the Quality Engineer and Quality Manager primers from the Quality Council of Indiana (www dot qualitycouncil dot com): ; and
    Every Memory Jogger on a QA-related topic (www dot goalqpc dot com). In my opinion, the best Memory Jogger is the first published, longest standing, one: “The Memory Jogger: A Pocket Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement” ISBN 978-1-879364-03-5.
    Also…. you should really sign up to follow/join some QA-related groups on LinkedIn, if you haven’t yet. Not only is that reading material and information free, but there are some great and very timely conversations that take place among fellow QA professionals. And you can pick it up as it happens on your smart phone! ASQ has a full array of global, industry, regional, local and topic-related groups on LinkedIn. Visit my LinkedIn profile to see a bunch of QA-related groups I follow… and you can link to them from there. The reason I’m mentioning social media, is that books take too long to get written and published. For timely information, use social media. For timeless classics, use books.

  8. Hi

    Considering the domain of Quality & Excellence, The list definitely incomplete. There is no mention of any books on Excellence (Mark Blazey), Personal Development (Dr. Stephen Covey…), Service Excellence (Soul of Service by Leonard Berry or Be our Guest – Walt Disney…..),…..Management of Quality by Dr. Hitoshi Kume, Gemba Kaizen by Dr. Masaki Imai, Dr. Kano’s theories….It is not appropriate to make such headlines with ” Top 8 Eight Books…..)

    1. Hello, Sunil. Thank you for your comment. This is not considered by ASQ to be an exhaustive list, but a good start for quality professionals. We will consider doing a follow up on other books for quality professionals.

  9. My top choice is The Leader’s Handbook by Peter Scholtes. As Robert Mitchell mentions, I am also very high on Fourth Generation Management by Brian Joiner. I also have to have a book by Russell Ackoff very high on any list of mine though which of his books to list is a very hard decision to make.

  10. Professionals in the quality field are touched on the subjects that are choosen from above said books. Many of the professionals go back to books to referesh their learnings. Apart from the above mentioned steriotypic books on Quality, in todays world motivational and inspirational books are required to keep the changing enviornment.

  11. We appreciate the list of books and are delighted that we made the list. I am wondering why the Juran Handbook is the only one that does not link to more informaitn as the others do. is there something we can do to fix this? Thank you, Joe DeFeo, CEO Juran Global.

    1. Apologies, the book got moved around in our online bookstore. The link should go to the book now. Thanks for the heads up!

  12. Some more books
    Introduction to SQC by D C Montgomery
    SQC by leavenworth and Grant
    Quality planningd analysis Kiran and Gryana

  13. Hello,
    I’ve been in the quality field for 2 years now. I’ve taken a great interest in process improvement. I would really like to study and learn more in-depth on the theories and philosophies of quality, ultimately leading to application and improvement of a system. I would like to focus in manufacturing and making laborers jobs easier. Any advice on a good place to start? Thank you in advance!
    *(The link to number 3. “Root Cause Analysis: …” does not link to the book. It brings up “Crafting Service Processes” by Jean Harvey.)

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