Book Review for “The Six Sigma Handbook,” Fourth Edition

Six Sigma symbol and text with related factors.
Six Sigma symbol and text with related factors.

For over fifteen years, The Six Sigma Handbook by Thomas Pyzdek has been the standard text on the subject of Six Sigma, an organized and comprehensive system for implementing what was once simply called “quality control” or “quality improvement.”

This book first appeared in hardcover from a major publisher in 2000, when nearly every other business book was about the glories of the Internet and the IT revolution. It’s not a biography of a glamorous business CEO or guru. It’s long and technical, and in 2000 the only long and technical books most people wanted were about computer programming and designing websites. Despite all that, The Six Sigma Handbook is now in its Fourth Edition.

Six Sigma originated with Bill Smith at Motorola in 1986. In 1995, the CEO of General Electric, Jack Smith used it at GE with notable success. Therefore, it soon became famous, and many other manufacturing companies have adopted the model.

What does Six Sigma mean, and how does it relate to quality control? The “sigma” comes from statistics, where the image of a bell curve describes the results of random events. The middle, the top of the bell, is where most events are most common. After that, the line goes down like the curve of a bell, and gradually slopes toward zero. Therefore, events are least common at these long tails. “Sigma” is just a mathematical way of measuring how far away from the common middle the tail is. In this case, events are manufacturing errors industrial companies want to minimize. At six sigma, their manufacturing process allows only one defect per 340,000 items.

As many other companies wanted to achieve the same improvement in product quality, that created a huge demand for experts in Six Sigma. Thomas Pyzdek, an expert with many years of experience in quality control and implementing statistical methods at companies, wrote this book to help everyone who wishes to become an expert in Six Sigma, although it doesn’t replace certifications. It has become the standard text for experts in the field and managers who need to understand it to use it in their companies.

Just as Six Sigma as a discipline has continued to evolve, this book has changed to reflect those changes. This edition explains Lean Six Sigma, which combines Six Sigma with Japanese Lean methodologies. It’s a great resource for managers bringing Six Sigma to their organizations. It introduces the two project methodologies, DMAIC (Define the system. Measure. Analyze. Improve. Control.) and DMADV(Define design goals. Measure. Analyze. Design. Verify.)

This edition also includes two online quizzes. One for green belt students and one for candidates for black belt certification. It contains links to five videos that explain Minitab functions, statistical process controls and Pareto charts.

The Six Sigma Handbook, Fourth Edition is a terrific way to begin learning about Six Sigma, but if you wish to become a serious professional in the field, you need to learn more and get certified.

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Six Sigma Handbook 4th Edition #1 Best Seller on Amazon

Click here to go to the page for the Six Sigma Handbook. #1 Best Seller in Industrial Quality Control on

Book Description
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
The most complete, current guide to Six Sigma

“Best practices in Six Sigma are continuously evolving, just as Six Sigma itself evolved from earlier best practices in quality improvement. …This fourth edition…(features) expanded materials on innovation, strategic development, Lean, and constraint management. …You’ll notice many references to free online materials within the text, such as Excel file templates that can be used for analyzing projects, or videos that provide an in-depth narrative on specific topics. Additional links will be added over time to further extend the learning potential offered by the text, so be sure to regularly check back into the online site at” —From the Preface by Paul Keller

The Six Sigma approach is being used to vastly improve processes, profitability, sustainability, and long-term growth at global organizations of all sizes. Fully revised for the latest developments in the field, The Six Sigma Handbook, Fourth Edition, reveals how to successfully implement this improvement strategy in your company.

The book explains how to define and deploy Six Sigma projects focused on key stakeholder requirements and carry out data-driven management. This comprehensive resource walks you through the phases of DMAIC and DMADV and demonstrates how to use the statistical tools and problem-solving techniques of Six Sigma with screenshots of Minitab and Excel applications.

The new edition has been updated to include:

  • Two online quizzes for Six Sigma certification, one for Green Belt candidates and one for Black Belt candidates
  • Links to five videos that walk you through specific processes, such as Minitab functions, statistical process control, and how to read a Pareto chart
  • Fully incorporated coverage of Lean methodologies
  • Find out how to select the right personnel to train, achieve technical proficiency, build the best teams, and foster effective leadership. Improve the quality of processes and products in your organization, increase customer satisfaction, and boost profits with help from this definitive guide to Six Sigma.

Written by two of the foremost authorities on the subject, this authoritative resource delivers all of the guidance you need to successfully implement Six Sigma. Comprehensive coverage includes:

  • Building the responsive Six Sigma organization
  • Recognizing and capitalizing on opportunity
  • Data-driven management
  • Maximizing resources
  • Project management using DMAIC and DMADV
  • The define phase
  • The measure phase
  • Process behavior charts
  • Measurement systems evaluation
  • The analyze phase
  • The improve/design phase
  • The control/verify phase


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