Top 8 Books Every Quality Professional Should Read

What 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 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 list?

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

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, Sixth Edition, by Joseph M. Juran and Joseph A. De Feo

This is the quality management and engineering guide by one of the best known thinkers in quality.

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. 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. Making Change Work by Brien Palmer

They say the only thing constant is change. This is a solid guide to helping organizations prepare for and implement change.

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 principles. 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. Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar H. Schein

This updated edition focuses on the contemporary business environment and demonstrates how leaders must apply principles of culture to achieve organizational goals.

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 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. Practical Engineering, Process, and Reliability Statistics by Mark Allen Durivage

This book aims to provide quality professionals in any industry a quick and comprehensive guide to using statistics efficiently.