The autobiographical book details the eventful life of Lillian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Bunker Gilbreth, as well as their twelve children. Frank and Lillian are both accomplished workers in their field – Frank is an industrial engineer and Lillian is a psychologist. Due to their jobs, they often try to find ways to achieve things in the most efficient manner, including looking after their children.
As the children grow they are taught different mannerisms than normal children are. Frank and Lillian train their children to behave in certain ways, which are not conventional of children their age. Frank often would whistle at his children and give them treats for good behavior. The parenting style ensures that Frank and Lillian are able to carry out a happy and efficient home life.
The book goes on to teach the value of hard work. Both Frank and Lillian are wealthy, and Lillian comes from a very wealthy background. When the children go to a visit to Lillian’s family in California they are surrounded by luxurious items and activities. However, they are taught that all of this prosperity stems from hard work.
Frank also goes on to be a strict father in terms of education. He encourages his children to excel in academics and often helps them by planning educational activities and games. Frank also sits in on his children’s class in order to get a better understanding of their learning.
All in all, the book acts as a guide on how to manage a large group of children and the complexities and difficulties that parents will have to endure, but ultimately that family and love are the most important aspects.