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Good Products, Bad Products

Book Description

“This book is the most comprehensive discussion of all the elements that go into producing superior products that I have read. I have thought a lot about quality over many years, yet the thinking reflected throughout [this] discussion is a real eye-opener for me. For anyone seriously interested in quality, this is a must read.”

—Donald E. Petersen, retired President and Chairman, Ford Motor Company

“This is a book only a legend like Jim Adams could write. Based on a very popular course Jim taught at Stanford for many years, it should be required reading for every engineering student interested in designing great products. Great products lead to great companies that change the world. Every aspiring engineer wants to have an impact and this book will absolutely help. Read it!”

—James D. Plummer, Dean, School of Engineering, Stanford University

“Drawing on fifty years of engineering experience, ranging from car design to rocket science, Stanford professor Jim Adams takes us on an engaging and eclectic journey through the evolution of what makes good products tick. With the same irrepressible curiosity Adams displayed in Conceptual Blockbusting, he shares insights into the underlying characteristics that separate products into the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

—Tom Kelley, General Manager, IDEO, and author of The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation

“Adams has a high-level and holistic view of the design of everyday things and the issues confronting those who develop them. If you design things, you will enjoy this book and benefit from Jim’s wisdom and experience.”

—Bill Moggridge, Director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and author of Designing Interactions and Designing Media

“Jim Adams is a gift. He understands the true essence of quality, blending ‘what works’ with ‘what’s beautiful.’ Here this master teacher shares his special wisdom: how to create that magical experience of a product we love, one that evokes ‘Wow, this is really cool!’ His timeless, inspired message could not be more timely.”

—Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and coauthor of Built to Last and Great by Choice

About the Book:

What is the secret behind every successful product? Why are people willing to pay more for a BMW than a Chevrolet? How could Apple iPhones represent only 4% of the world’s cell phone market in 2010 but take in 50% of the profits?

The answer is QUALITY.

In this provocative new book, bestselling author James L. Adams provides a brilliant, in-depth look at the powerful but elusive qualities that can make or break a product’s success. A must-read for managers, designers, manufacturers, engineers, and marketers, this groundbreaking approach will change the way you think about your product—and show you why it’s more important than ever to deliver the highest quality possible.

In Good Products, Bad Products, you’ll learn how to:

• Maximize your product’s performance—and minimize the cost

• Appeal to your customer’s emotions—with elegance and sophistication

• Make sure your product is a perfect fit—that’s human, cultural, and global

With competition growing stronger and fiercer every year, product quality has become the number-one factor in a company’s success. Adams points out that there will always be a stable demand for a high-quality product.

By addressing every aspect of product quality—from the technical to the practical to the aesthetic—you can develop a product that your company will be proud of and your customers will love.

Along the way, you’ll hear fascinating case studies of famous brands that became victims of their own success—like Kodak, IBM, Zenith, and GM—and struggled to recover lost ground. You’ll see how some countries like Japan surged ahead by offering better products than anyone on the globe. You’ll learn how some U.S. manufacturers remained successful in spite of the foreign market’s lower wages. And you’ll also discover the top industry secrets for prioritizing quality throughout the company, delivering products that are the best in their class.

Now more than ever, quality matters. Good Products, Bad Products gives you the edge, so you can give your customers the best product possible.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Good Products, Bad Products
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Introduction
  8. Chapter 1 Products and Quality: What Is the Situation?
    1. Future Trends: Population Growth and “Taste”
    2. An Example of Quality Improvement
    3. Beyond Manufacturing Quality
    4. Global Competition
    5. Onward
  9. Chapter 2 Problems in Increasing Product Quality: Narrow-Mindedness and Attitudes
    1. Thinking, Problem Solving, and Quality
    2. Tradition Runs Deep
    3. Flaws in Economic Theory
    4. The Changing Nature of Design
    5. Increasing Creativity and Innovation
  10. Chapter 3 Performance, Cost, and Price: Is It a Good Deal?
    1. Quantifying Performance
    2. The Complexity of Cost and Price
    3. The Balancing Act Between Performance and Cost
    4. Why Are There Problems?
  11. Chapter 4 Human Fit: Does the Product Fit People?
    1. Physical Fit
    2. Sensory Fit
    3. Cognitive Fit
    4. Complexity
    5. Safety and Health
  12. Chapter 5 Craftsmanship: Joy to the Maker, Joy to the User
    1. Why Do We Care About Craftsmanship?
    2. The Pleasure and Pride of Craft
    3. The Industry and Culture Problem
    4. The Nature of Craftsmanship
    5. Some Suggestions
  13. Chapter 6 Products, Emotions, and Needs: Love, Hate, or Blah?
    1. How Emotions Play a Role
    2. The Complexity of Human Emotions
    3. Diversity in Emotional Responses
    4. The Mechanisms of Emotion
    5. Human Needs
    6. Needs and Emotions
    7. Need Finding
  14. Chapter 7 Aesthetics, Elegance, and Sophistication: Wisdom Through Experience
    1. Aesthetics and Industrial Products
    2. A Bit of Background on Industrial Design
    3. Elegance and Sophistication
    4. Product Form and Function
    5. Some Concerns on Today’s Aesthetics
  15. Chapter 8 Symbolism and Cultural Values: Who Are We?
    1. Products, Symbolism, and Cultures
    2. Products and National Cultures
    3. Products and Subcultures
    4. Globalism and Cultures
  16. Chapter 9 Global Constraints: Does the Product Fit a Finite Earth and Its Inhabitants?
    1. Big Problems
    2. The Role of Industrially Produced Products
    3. Why These Problems?
    4. Response to Change
    5. Revolutionary Approaches
    6. The Iceberg
    7. Regulations and Laws
    8. Now What?
  17. Chapter 10 Conclusion: What Have We Learned? Where Do We Go?
  18. Notes
  19. Further Reading
  20. Index