Brokers occasionally tell enthusiastic investors a gnomic story: only two people in the whole world understand gold; unfortunately, they disagree. Such conflicts mark the often arcane prescriptions of quality assurance's high-profile apostles--Cresby, Deming, Feigenbaum, Juran, et al. In such circumstances, Creech's uncommonly sensible, jargon-free briefing could prove welcome indeed for executives seeking guidance on the oversight philosophy known as total quality management. An ultraconfident commentator who has fruitfully practiced what he preaches (as a general in the Air Force, and, now retired, as a globe-trotting consultant), Creech does not claim that TQM will produce either quick or miraculous fixes. In fact, he stresses that effectively attending and applying the five essential elements of his canon (commitment, leadership, organization, process, product) can be an exacting, even wrenching, experience. Drawing on case studies featuring the likes of Boeing, GE, Honda, and Xerox, however, he offers convincing evidence that his holistic, putting- people-first approach to stewardship can yield a competitive edge- -and more. Nor does he shy from citing troubled companies (GM, IBM) and recalcitrant labor unions (LAM, UAD) that could benefit from TQM. In practical terms, Creech evaluates ways of instituting customer-oriented governance programs that foster employee allegiance as well as involvement. Among other things, he addresses the advantages that can accrue from common purposes, decentralized operations, interactive communications, on-the-job training, shared successes, teamwork, and allied aspects of a system administered by flexible pacesetters who focus on market outcomes, not inputs that are the province of stakeholders. Covered too are accountability, authority, incentives, objective benchmarks, professionalism, value sensitivity, and other tricks of the TQM trade. Altogether, a splendid introduction to a full-blast management method that, against the grain, clearly views control as a cooperative proposition.