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Secrets From The Tower: An O'Hare Air Traffic Controller's Personal Stories of Life and Aviation [Kindle Edition]

Bob Richards
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99

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Book Description

Secrets from the Tower A Powerful, rare and original look into the important world of a Chicago O'Hare air traffic controller Secrets from the Tower is a terrific, thrilling, well-written, funny read, for its fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of an air traffic control tower, and will be enjoyable for anyone who's ever traveled by air. It's entertaining for its anecdotes, informative about air traffic, and also poignant, in terms of the life lessons the book delivers, and its tales of love and loss. Secrets from the Tower by Author Bob Richards gives the reader an inside look at the life of an air traffic controller at one of the world's busiest airports. Thousands of people travel via air every day and give little thought to what is happening behind the scenes. Secrets from the Tower brings the reader close personal to the action that. Bob Richards has written an exciting, captivating, and sometimes heart-breaking, true story of a fledgling air traffic controller becoming one of the most experienced in the industry. Secrets from the Tower details not only the fast-paced, high-pressure life of an air traffic controller but also how that lifestyle affects a man and his family. Secrets from the Tower is a must read for travelers, aviation buffs, and autobiography lovers alike. Secrets from the Tower is witty and heart-wrenching, fast-paced.
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Product Details

  • File Size: 1890 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ithaca Press (July 16, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BAHKWGY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
138 of 145 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thick As A Brick November 22, 2007
Format:Paperback
Given the number of glowing five-star reviews this book has drawn, I bought it thinking it would be a fascinating exposé of the US ATC system. After reading the book I went back and discovered that the vast majority of the highly positive reviews of this book are also the sole reviews written by those individuals: some of the reviewers admit to knowing and working with the author, rendering their judgment biased at best. In retrospect, I should have been substantially more wary of all the hype displayed in these reviews for what is a vanity press offering for all intents and purposes.

As a professional pilot who has flown into Chicago O'Hare many times, I really wanted to understand the inner workings of the tower. I was primed to hear the "secrets." In fact the only secret seemingly involved a plot to delay the aircraft of sports teams that were playing local Chicago teams, in an attempt to deny rival players sleep and alter the outcome of games. What is clearly not a secret is Bob Richards' unusual personality and behavior, which he attempts to spin as being a cut up, but which actually comes across as boorish immaturity that is neither endearing nor entertaining.

If you are interested in Air Traffic Control, this is not the book for you. This is an overly dramatized autobiography of an issue-laden controller; he is no doubt a very high-energy individual, but he seems to need to be the center of attention at all times. In the process he comes across as a manic narcissist who struggles with inner demons throughout his life. The key problem is that he presents himself as so self-absorbed that I just didn't care about him or any of the other characters in the book. He had a particularly difficult time relating to women.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting insights, but a tedious read November 16, 2007
Format:Paperback
I'm not a controller, I am a pilot, I grew up in Chicago a half decade before Richards, attended Catholic elementary and high schools, learned to fly at Palwaukee, and thus relate to Richards' Chicagoland and school experiences. (I don't know the author or anyone mentioned in the book.) The autobiographical part is, frankly, boring. It is a self-indulgent purging of internal demons and I found it not the least inspiring or even interesting. I read the book to learn about how ATC works at the Tower (as the book is promoted.) The bits of the book that focus on real incidents and how real situations in the Tower or TRACON are handled are interesting. At the end of the book, I found that I had learned a bit about life and situations in the Tower, but not enough. I also found that I couldn't care less about Richards' personal problems. I suppose if I were a personal friend or colleague of Richards, then that part might be interesting, and hence the comments from controllers who knew him. But otherwise, the personal story is not very interesting. It's worth a read if you fast forward to the anecdotes that occur while he's working in the Tower.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self-serving December 2, 2007
Format:Paperback
I thought this book was a self-serving autobiographical sketch of a controller who had an ax to grind with the FAA, but lacked any depth or insight. Who cares about your personal problems, Calvin? Your promo said it would teach us something about the inner workings of one of the busiest ATC facilities in the country, but it was a self-promoting, and frankly boring review of some mildly amusing antics of adolescent boys. What a colossal disappointment.
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By Trina
Format:Paperback
Ironically I came upon this book as a trade for a haircut. It was worth the $25 all day long! We are all connected and it is up to us to pay attention the messages that come our way. I didn't seek this book out, it came to me and what I got from it was my own message.
Everyone has a story and our misfortunes can lead to blessings in disguise.There is alot of truth inside this book written by Bob(whom I personally met myself)and he shares with us things happening in this world that some of us would never expect or think twice about. This is the story of life and you may not be interested in all the information about air traffic controlling, but I will say you can be awakened in any way, just seek out the things that cross your path and it could be just that one thing that makes a difference.
I'm happy for you Bob! Good things do come to great people and thank you for sharing your story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars too much personality - not enough factuality April 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wanted more of a factual state of the union of ATC procedures. I got some of that, but with a heavy dose of authors sense of humor and life events. No offense, but I found myself skipping thru most "stories" to get to the meat of the book. Funny stories, but too personal in my opinion. More ATC content to me would have been preferable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good read January 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
learned a lot, mix of funny and dead serious. my wife was an USAF radar control center operator and SAGE inst so it gave some insight to her world at work.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read August 17, 2007
Format:Paperback
Secrets from the Tower was a great read and provided insight into the author and his motivation to become an air traffic controller. Having shared the Berwyn, Catholic School experience, Bob was able to remind me of the experiences that molded us to become who we are today. I could connect to his early experiences and shared memories of many of the people and places that influenced him as he was growing up. His use of music to connect with the experiences of his life was another way he connected with the reader. Music is something that so many of us can identify with and his use of music made it easier to get an idea of what he was thinking and feeling at any given time. Bob did a great job of revealing himself to the reader and sharing his experiences as an air traffic controller. Without much prior information about the job of an air traffic controller, I was able to catch a glimpse of what that world is all about. Bob was able to share experiences and tell stories that were entertaining and revealing about the world of ATCs. Overall, I am glad I read Secrets from the Tower and am glad Bob wrote a book that revealed his attitude about life and his belief in having a positive attitude. His advice, to treat each other well, is something we should all remember.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars super good insider book
eye opening insider look at the world of the air traffic controller in one of the busiest airports in the world
Published 16 months ago by lza
4.0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD INSIGHT TO WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Story is good and kept my attention. Very good insight as to what it takes to be a traffic controller. The author bares his soul in his novel. Recommend!
Published 18 months ago by Lea Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars MY SON THE AVIATOR
IT WAS A GIFT FOR MY SON, WHO LIVED NEAR OHARE FOR 13 YEARS AND TOOK FLYING LESSONS FLIES FOR FUN NOW.
Published 18 months ago by Patricia A Cuddihee
2.0 out of 5 stars Just Skimming the Surface
The topic of this book needs to be explored more often. Unfortunately this author doesn't explore the controller realm in any depth. Read more
Published on October 24, 2011 by Nicole V. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight
I recall hearing about this book when it came out but forgot about it until I saw that the author was going to have a session at Oshkosh last month. Read more
Published on August 11, 2010 by bigfoot
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fascinating book!
I am an aspiring Air Traffic Controller. When I first heard about this book; I went right to the reviews; and shortly after bought my own copy. Read more
Published on November 13, 2008 by Darryl Flora
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles D. Richardson, aurhor, pilot, Air Traffic Controller (Ret.)
When I first started reading Richards book, I thought most of his controller stories were fantasy. I became a believer after seeing a photo of Richards with then president Bill... Read more
Published on October 17, 2008 by Charles D. Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone with an interest in ATC and Life
First off, the book as a whole I believe is excellent. Many people have commented that the book as not very stellar because it is too detailed orientated. Exactly! Read more
Published on January 21, 2008 by Jerell W. Mulhollan
5.0 out of 5 stars only the facts...well said
This book was very well written and tells the breakdown of what is going on in the FAA then and now. Read more
Published on January 4, 2008 by Scott Dittamo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Aviation Story
Secrets from the Tower is an easy reading book and a wonderfully insightful story of an Air Traffic Controller's life. Read more
Published on December 23, 2007 by Wayne Piergies
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