"ISO 9000: Worldwide Quality Standard" by James G. Patterson, published by Crisp Publications, Inc. (1200 Hamilton Court, Menlo Park, CA 94025-1427), 1995, 128 pages, $8.95 (list)

A Book Review by Norman C. Frank, PE, CQE, CQA. CER Corporation, Washington, DC

This book is for the very beginner in the ISO 9000 series standards. It provides a very brief overview with little explanatory information. It is part of a series called the "50-Minute Series" published by Crisp Publications. This series provides information on many subjects and is intended to be read in approximately 50 minutes.

The book states that it is based on the most recent changes to the ISO 9000 Series approved for 1994, but the references are to paragraphs of the 1986 issue of the standards. The book also perpetuates the incorrect definition of ISO as "International Standards Organization" (should be "International Organization for Standardization" or simply ISO stands for "equal").

The author does provide some information on how the standard might be used in the United States. He mentions use by the Food and Drug Administration for medical devices, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and the Fortune 1000. The author provides some benefits of certification along with some average costs to achieve certification ($245,000) and for average annual return ($179,000).

The author discusses each of the 20 elements of ISO 9000 and provides some guidance on their interpretation. Unfortunately quotes from the book "The ISO 9000 Book" by John T. Rabbitt and Peter A. Bergh, which is not sufficiently detailed to help with ISO certification, along with the author's interpretations are used for clarification. John Stuart Mill said, "All good things which exist are the fruits of originality." Quoting from others does not provide original thought.

This book would only be useful to someone who has no knowledge of the ISO 9000 Series Standards.