The machine tool industry is a small sector with a big impact. Almost all technical products are manufactured with the help of machine tools - one reason why the machine tool is considered to be »the ultimate machine". Berthold Leibinger, longtime managing partner of the machine tool and technology company TRUMPF, investigates the development of the machine tool industries of Germany, Japan and the United States since 1960. Key factors such as innovations, the importance of science and the training of employees are all examined. The structure of the machine tool industry and their characteristics are highlighted. In addition to the author's own experiences during his working life, numerous discussions held with experts and company representatives have also been taken into consideration. This analysis of the machine tool industry's development in three different countries also mentions numerous influential factors that lead to success or failure. From these, Berthold Leibinger derives recommended measures for managers of machine tool companies.