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Managing Martians Paperback – June 1, 1999
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Shirley's story is extraordinary in its simplicity: she set her sights on what she wanted, and chased it fervently. Yet simple doesn't always mean easy, and Shirley owns up to getting sidetracked along the way, and having to work hard to get back to business. And what a business! Imagine having an expensive, delicate object you helped design strapped to a projectile hurtling toward a chunk of rock in space. The best parts of Shirley's story are the tense moments, when she struggled to maintain professional cool while under enormous stress. This book is part autobiography, part lesson to bureaucratic managers; Shirley has had to work with some temperamental folks in her lifetime of government work, and she's learned (the hard way) how to manage teams well. One gets the impression that she would have made an excellent military leader, or CEO. Mars buffs all over the world should be glad she stuck to the stars. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Readers who are familiar with the "Mars and Venus" series of books on the psychological differences between men and women will no doubt catch the double meaning of the book's title. Much of Ms. Shirley's autobiographical narrative describes her struggle to reach her career goals in a historically male-dominated profession during the Sixties. It is a world in which pioneering women swim against the stream in a culture in which young women were (and to some extent, still are) taught that studying subjects such as science, math, and technical drawing was "unladylike", and the few women who did continue their education beyond high school were pressured to graduate with an "Mrs." degree and settle into the cozy, familiar role of middle class housewife-mother. Her interests in science fiction, flying, and a life of adventure set her apart from her peers, and she manages to avoid the cultural traps set for her and perseveres in her aim of becoming an aerospace engineer.
In the last part of the book, Shirley relates the challenges and frustrations of managing a space project against a background of tightfisted budgets. The NASA of the 1990's is no longer awash in cash, and a spirit of "make-do-or-do-without" pervades the organization.Read more ›
As you might expect in a book with this title, covering all of the above, sometimes the subject matter is stretched very thin. This is in some parts a book that tries to do too much, and the autobiographical sections on Donna Shirley's childhood, her experiences becoming licensed as a pilot, seem somewhat out of place in a book such as this. Make no mistake, there are lessons here, about glass ceilings and reaching for childhood dreams, but they are never fully realized, or completely developed, in the text. I have heard many woman express an interest in reading this book for Shirley's opinions on how women should deal with male-dominated fields, and how, or even if, they should "prove" themselves in positions of power, but there is little that enlightens that aspect of the book. One of the best quotes, however, from Shirley, concerning her new found fame as a female role model, sums up part of the problem in one sentence: "Our culture is so starved for female role models, that a woman who simply shows up on TV becomes a hero." Unfortunately too obviously true, and a shame on our society.
However, Shirley's story is extraordinary, and compelling in her fervent chase of her goals. Shirley has had to work hard, sometimes at great sacrifice, for this business.Read more ›
Nonetheless, the book does finally move on to the story of the Mars Pathfinder Mission, which was what I was really interested in hearing about. Ms. Shirley gives a good description of life at JPL and also does a nice job in discussing the technical hurdles to be overcome in such a far-reaching endeavour. I especially enjoyed the chapters about the development of the rover, as they did not gloss over a lot of interesting technical details (as other books dealing with Pathfinder have).
Overall this was a good book that could have been a great book. Ms. Shirley has really given us two books:An autobiography and a book about the Mars Pathfinder. I would have preferred the latter without the former.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wasn't really interested in space until I started reading this book. I was always a huge fan of aeronautics and worked in the industry but I never got excited for astronautics. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Ben
one of the best books ever!
READ IT!.............worked with Donna and she writes a easy, fun, good read......sent this as a gift to a friend.... Read more
The book is really interesting. Not so for the biographical element in it, but more for the NASA internal politics description. Read morePublished on October 29, 2001 by Joan Roch
This book vividly tells the story of the intense and exhiliarating adventure scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) experience at the cutting edge of the... Read morePublished on April 18, 1999
If you've ever wondered what engineering is all about or are trying to decide whether or not to enter the field, this book is for you It's an adventure story, that starts with a... Read morePublished on April 7, 1999 by John Shepler, online publisher of A Positive Light...it'll brighten your day! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For a person reviewing books before live audiences, Managing Martians by Donna Shirely is a winner! Shirley's story is multifold - from her childhood perched in a sycamore tree in... Read morePublished on April 5, 1999
In Managing Martians, Donna Shirley shows the interaction that takes place in the solution of complex engineering problems with mostly male colleagues. Read morePublished on April 5, 1999
Mars has always interested me and so I was looking forward to a book that would promote not only this singular endeavor of hers but also future visions for Mars. Read morePublished on March 19, 1999
The book is an interesting read, although as someone who closely follows interplanetary missions I found it slightly sparse in details, but sprinkled with anecdotes. Read morePublished on November 17, 1998