In 1964, a lubrication expert named Peter Jost gathered with his colleagues at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Cardiff, Wales, to discuss a vexing paradox. Factory machinery everywhere was producing more and better goods than ever before. But it was also failing at an increasing rate. The immediate problem was friction: Lubricants were breaking down, bearings were wearing out, metal components were cracking. The larger problem was that plant managers did little to reduce that friction. A little grease, a little tinkering, nothing more. Why?