The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary (book presentation)

Bill Dettmer, my friend and mentor often cited on this blog, published his 9th book “The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary”.

This new book is much smaller in size and number of pages than the famous “big green book” (The Logical Thinking Process: A Systems Approach to Complex Problem Solving), only 65 pages compared to 413 pages. The ‘Executive Summary’ is really what it intends to be: a summary and according to the author, most readers can read it within an hour.

Bill Dettmer explains: “Over the years, I’ve found myself having to explain what the Logical Thinking Process is in 30 seconds or so to people who have never heard of it – or know nothing about it if they have. I came to the conclusion that while the Logical Thinking Process (LTP) is difficult, if not impossible, to encapsulate in an “elevator speech,” it might be somewhat easier to do in a pocket-sized book.

“The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary” describes the Logical Thinking Process (LTP), what it is and how it works, the value leaders can get out of the LTP without going into the details of building the logic trees. This is left to the “big green book”.

The ‘Executive Summary’ is meant to give enough insight to decide if it’s worth or not going further with the LTP. Many executives won’t probably invest the necessary time to master the logic tools by themselves, but probably send some of their trusted subordinates to attend a Logical Thinking Process Training Course instead.

Executives however will know enough by reading the ‘Executive Summary’ to read the logic trees and be familiar with their structure and knowledgeable about their usage.

Book Presentation

I was fortunate to be selected by Bill as a manuscript reviewer and proofreader, and had a privileged first reading. The book that came out is more elaborate and “polished” than the drafts I first saw and I had not seen the illustrations until I got the published copy though.

Some of them are the same than in the ‘big green book’, some are new. Bill likes to add some humorous cartoons in his presentations and while these did not find a place in his textbooks, he took the opportunity to add some in the “The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary”.

This book has 7 chapters: one for the overview of the whole Logical Thinking Process, one for each of the 5 logic trees and a final one for wrapping up.

Chapter 1

The first chapter is a primer on the Logical Thinking Process and an introduction to the five logic tools. The chapter ends with a short conclusion.

Chapter 2

The Goal Tree is the central tool of the Logical Thinking Process as well as Bill’s brainchild, linking together the preexisting logic tools into a real and unique Logical Thinking Process. The specific role of the Goal Tree is shown in the LTP roadmap wheel as well as summarized in this first chapter.

The Goal Tree is really feeding the other logic tools with elements vital to the system: the system’s Goal itself, the Critical Success Factors and the Necessary Conditions to achieve the Goal.

Making the Goal Tree the hub of the LTP roadmap wheel ensures that the gap analysis and the problem solving injections are still aligned with the system’s Goal and all improvements benefit to the system as a whole.

Chapters 3 to 7

Each of the following chapter describes the structure and role of each of the other four logic tools and the last chapter “puts it all together”. Bill Dettmer shares some examples where the Logical Thinking Process was used to drive organizations to their success.

Personal comments about the book

This 65-page book serves its purpose: allowing anybody a glimpse into the world of logical analysis and problem solving without being overwhelmed with too much jargon and technical details. It is a quick and easy read as the author intended it to be.

For former Logical Thinking Process training course alumni, the book can be a good refresher, especially if they failed to follow the important advice to practice, practice, practice.

Renaming the logic tools (Trees and Cloud)

The Logical Thinking Process has a lot of jargon and one has to learn it to be able to understand and use the tools. While I agree that some tools’ names are not self-explanatory, they have been around for so long that the community accepted and used them. The available literature refers to the tools using the original names and therefore I expressed my reservations when Bill Dettmer came up with new names.

Usual names New names
Current Reality Tree Problem Tree
Evaporating Cloud Conflict Resolution Diagram
Future Reality Tree Solution Tree
Prerequisite Tree Deployment Tree

In order to link new to old, the new ones are usually followed by the old in brackets or by a more elaborate explanation. These new names however should be used only to lead the Executive Summary readers into the subject without scaring them upfront with hermetic lingo.

The OODA loop, cowboy philosopher and guns

Anyone knowing Bill Dettmer and/or who attended his Logical Thinking Process Training Course will not be surprised to find that Boyd’s OODA loop found its way in a booklet of only 65 pages. The ODDA loop, in my humble opinion could have been left out for the sake of simplicity.

Bill’s favorite cowboy philosopher is quoted at least 3 times, inconsistently with his actual fame and depth of the shared wisdom, in my opinion.

Finally, the analogy of the Logical Thinking Process and knowledge with a gun and bullets is also to be found at the very end, a metaphor I am not fond of.

Bill Dettmer’s presentation of the book

Right after the June 2018 session of the Logical Thinking Process Training Course in Paris, France, Bill and I took the opportunity to videotape Bill’s own presentation of the book.

Buy the book: [Amazon]

2 thoughts on “The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary (book presentation)

  1. Hi. Once again, Great Post.
    In addition to having read other books, I have also read this book (summary) quickly although English is not my native language, but since I already have some knowledge of ToC, the language barrier is easily overcome. I confess, that I always feel some reservations, when someone (whoever he is and with all the respect that Dettmer deserves) proposes “new names” to tools or methodologies. I read the book by Lisa Scheinkopf and in EC she gave as an example the conflict between using the original name or a different name, interestingly, and the question is that the Goldratt, gave the name Evaporating Cloud as thanks to who gave this idea, if I remember correctly. I think that out of respect for the author we should use the original names, but I respect new approaches that are a complement and help explain the tool or methodology.


    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sergio.
      Respect for an author is one thing, proposing a new naming for the sake of clarity is another thing and keeping consistency with a largely accepted name, even so disputable with regards to clarity is a third one.
      My reservations are because of the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

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