A to Z Survey

Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

O ~ One Book You Have Read Multiple Times


I don't remember what inspired me to read this book. It might have been seeing the movie based on the life of Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth and their twelve children (the second eldest child died of diphtheria at five).


The movie I saw was the original, with Clifton Webb, playing the father. The title of the book (written by two of the children) came from one of the father's favorite jokes about telling someone who asked why he had so many children. "Well, they come cheaper by the dozen, you know."


I loved the book for the humor of the family life and for discovering a woman who was a loving mother, an industrial engineer and earned a Ph.D in Industrial Psychology in 1915. Lillian and Frank were efficiency experts and pioneers in the field of motion study (making work processes more efficient by reducing the motions involved).