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A Factory of One teaches you how to apply lean manufacturing principles to your individual work, so that you get more high-quality work done in less time and with less effort.

Drawing on stories as disparate as a restaurant chef, an emergency room physician, and a NASA aerospace engineer, and grounding them in the latest psychological research, this book teaches you both what to do and why to do it.

The book shows you how to design a personal system that ensures you do the right things to boost personal performance and productivity, and a way to systematically incorporate improvements into your own work.

  • 5S: Translate (not just transfer) the principles of 5S to organize your information flow in a way that clarifies, prioritizes, and eliminates waste.
  • Visual Management: Create a personal kanban for knowledge work that provides daily reminders and “pull” signals that trigger you to do your most valuable work when you should be doing it, rather than when someone yells for it.
  • Flow: Make your repetitive and predictable tasks (and believe me, you’ve got more than you think) flow so that you can do them more quickly and have more time to do the fun, creative, and unpredictable work you love.
  • Problem Solving: Adopt a scientific approach to problem-solving that will develop your skill at framing the problem correctly in the first place, learning the discipline of investigating the problem’s true root cause, and creating enduring solutions that prevent the same problem from recurring.

Remember: no matter what kind of work you do, you’re involved in transforming some type of input into a different form of output that a customer wants. That act of transformation makes you, in essence, a factory—and that means that you can benefit from lean tools and concepts.


  • How can this book NOT be for EVERYONE?! Dan Markovitz has written a truly unique, readable, and actionable book about personal lean. A Factory of One will help the reader reconnect with the value-creating portion of his or her everyday work. Dan’s book is a gift to all knowledge workers.
    — Mark Hamel, author, Kaizen Event Fieldbook
  • Dan Markovitz brings a thoughtful and supremely practical perspective to the fundamental scarcity faced by us all: time. His approach blends conceptual frameworks and concrete specifics—a powerful and useful combination—to reduce the noise and clutter in our lives and work. Markovitz can help us all to be more effective!
    — Jim Collins, author, Good to Great and Built to Last
  • In today’s crazy-busy work environment, personal productivity is the key to success. In A Factory of One, you’ll discover numerous strategies you can immediately use to cut through the clutter, create order from chaos, and get more done.
    — Jill Konrath, author, Snap Selling and Selling to Big Companies
  • Markovitz’s book goes beyond the platitudes and explains a comprehensive theory of how to become more effective as a business professional….His book tells you both the “how” and “why” of productivity – and in the process, will make you a better business leader.
    — Dorie Clark, author, Reinventing You and Stand Out