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The Seven Secrets of How to Think Like a Rocket Scientist Hardcover – October 24, 2006

ISBN-13: 000-0387308768 ISBN-10: 0387308768 Edition: 2007th

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The Seven Secrets of How to Think Like a Rocket Scientist + Advice to Rocket Scientists: A Career Survival Guide for Scientists and Engineers (Library of Flight) + Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 2007 edition (October 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387308768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387308760
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

"People of Earth . . . Attention!" Jim Longuski's book takes you on a journey of exploration to that nearly infinite space between the ears and behind the brows of that most mysterious of all creatures - the rocket scientist! Going well beyond the oft-used aphorisms, where no writer has gone before, he shows you how these gifted individuals think, feel, work, play, fantasize, rationalize, laugh and cry. From the glories of their epoch-making achievements to the tragedies of their magnificent failures, it is all here, told with insight, humor, objectivity and personal perspective. Without being preachy, lessons are offered that apply to anyone seeking to make professional or personal life just a little bit more successful and fun. I just couldn't set this book down!
Robert Cesarone, Rocket Scientist

It's really great!
Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot, First Manned Landing on the Moon

This book offers helpful career and life advice with a unique twist. Professor Longuski's insights on how to 'think like a rocket scientist' are true gems, mined and polished over many years of experience in the aerospace field as a professor, researcher, and JPL mission designer.Here is a guide that will benefit engineers and nonengineers alike, infused with a sense of humor and relevancy that brings the subject matter to life.
Dr. Henry T. Yang, Professor and Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Targeted to a popular audience and written in an informal conversational manner. The author uses his vast experience in the U.S. space program together with his knowledge of 20th century science fiction films and popular literature. The book is easy to read. It traces the successes of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo to the ability to really think like rocket scientists. Seven sections comprise the 'seven secrets.' Current problems related to the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station completion are caused by the failure to remember and practice these seven secrets. The book ends on a positive note that with recent changes in NASA the future outlook for returning to the Moon and the exploration of Mars is much brighter.
Dr. Peter M. Bainum, Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Howard University, Washington, DC

Anyone who feels harried and stressed, or overwhelmed by workplace vexation will find this book a perfect way to relax and regain perspective in addition to learning something new and interesting.
The simple and sparkling writing style is a perfect compliment to the book's advice on being imaginative, playful, and active. The adorably whimsical illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to and reinforcement of this style.
Revisit your childhood passion for astronauts and learn about how to succeed in your adult endeavors
Amazon Customer Review

"Learned from the monumental challenges of space exploration, the book describes in ordinary language the methods that rocket scientists used to dream up ideas, figure things out, make decisions, and get stuff done – expressed in a way that you could apply to everyday life. ... Longuski illustrates the methods rocket scientists use with anecdotes, quotations, and biographical sketches of famous scientists, ideas from sci-fi, personal stories and insights, and occasionally a bit of space history." (www.YoursDaily.com, December, 2006)

"If I had been able to read this book much earlier I might have avoided some of my own difficult … experiences. This book will become required reading for all my space-science project students. I recommend it to all aspiring rocket scientists, current rocket scientists who feel the need too reinvigorate their working practices, and, indeed, to anyone who wishes to develop a new way of thinking … like a rocket scientist!" (Martin Barstow, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1200), October, 2007)

"Longuski’s brief, chatty essay describes even aspects of sound thinking, labeled dreaming, judging, asking, checking, simplifying, optimizing, and doing. … The book is really a running conversation with a good storyteller … . it should be an enjoyable read. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers." (D. Bantz, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (11), July, 2007)

From the Back Cover

Would you like to know the methods that rocket scientists use—expressed in a way that you could apply to your everyday life? The book you are holding does just that. Illustrated are the methods (the 7 secrets) with anecdotes, quotations and biographical sketches of famous scientists, ideas from sci-fi, personal stories and insights, and occasionally a bit of space history. It turns out that rocket science is just common sense applied to the extraordinarily uncommon environment of outer space. (And that rocket scientists are people, too!)


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Customer Reviews

The writing is not poor and the examples used are not bad.
M. Lenda
Humorous, heartwarming and humble, this book is like a delightful chat with a good friend from beginning to end.
Amazon Customer
Longuski's latest book is easy to read and at the same time informative.
J. Chen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Tom Carpenter VINE VOICE on February 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
...but it does remind you of excellent principles of success in any field, whether an engineer, scientist or any other profession.

Personally, I am not a rocket scientist; I am a systems engineer and study low-level communication protocols in networks as well as database design theory. At the same time, I teach success skills to technology professionals and have been recommending this book. I do not recommend it as a valuable resource for learning to think better (Gelb, Chaffe, Thorpe, Wind and Jones have done this well), but as a self-development book that provides reminders of important foundational principles like looking at the big picture, questioning your assumptions and reviewing your past successes and failures for lessons learned.

There's nothing deep or technical in this book. It is all about the basics and, sadly, we forget those quite often.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Chen on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Longuski's latest book is easy to read and at the same time informative. The book is divided into 7 parts, each one deals with a particular "secret" to thinking like a Rocket Scientist.

Why would you want to care about how Rocket Scientist think? The question really should be "why not?" If they can put people on the moon and bring them back safely, what can they NOT do? Knowing how to systematically bring seemingly impossible (and some might say crazy) ideas into reality is a tool no one should live without, regardless of your profession.

The book is full of humor, anecdotes, and memorable quotations from just about every source imaginable (books, TV shows, movies, etc). Want to know the secret to winning "20 Questions?" The book will teach you. Want to know how "20 Questions" relates to Rocket Science? Read it and find out. How about how to modify the game "Risk" to include nukes?

A wonderful feature of the book is that even though it is meant to be read as a whole, you can start reading just about anywhere in the book. Each chapter is very short, only about 2-3 pages. Yet each chapter contains something interesting and informative. It's treat to see how Longuski ties together all these loose ideas together into a unified theme--how to think like a Rocket Scientist.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By DrThunder on December 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The great thing about this book is how easy it is to get caught up in the story-telling and anecdotes. The author does a wonderful job of using famous quotes, parables, and even scenes from movies to prove his points. The book challenges you to use your imagination to its fullest, and above all else, use common sense when solving complicated problems. Also, the illustrations are cool. They remind me of the Spaceman Spiff cartoons from the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Humorous, heartwarming and humble, this book is like a delightful chat with a good friend from beginning to end.

Anyone who feels harried and stressed, or overwhelmed by workplace vexation will find this book a perfect way to relax and regain perspective in addition to learning something new and interesting.

The simple and sparkling writing style is a perfect compliment to the book's advice on being imaginative, playful, and active. The adorably whimsical illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to and reinforcement of this style.

Revist your childhood passion for astronauts and learn about how to succeed in your adult endeavors--read this book today...and don't forget to buy one for a friend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Earth that Was on November 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are thousands of "How to" and "improve your thinking" books out there, but only this one allows you to indulge your inner space cadet at the same time. I'm old enough to remember when us kids were as excited by actual space travel as a later generation was by "Star Wars." Jim Longuski is too and he was an actual rocket scientist, and currently teaches the rocket scientists of the future.

There are no earth shattering secrets here but lots of down-to-earth common sense delivered with charm, brevity and good humour. Longuski's writing style is light and breezy and this good reading book is one you can move through like a rocket. The illustrating cartoons are fun and relevant as are Longuski's chapter heading quotations. The book is tight and well constructed, elegant even, indeed it seems to encapsulate the very rocket science principles the author wants to see take off.

There are seven stages in Longuski's count down. These principles would seem to be relevant nearly everywhere, and especially in any activity remotely technical. There must be a "Dream". But you need to "Judge" your brainstorms toughly but carefully. You need to "Ask" the right questions, lots of them. "Check" your findings and your thinking. "Simplify" your plans, "Optimize" your solutions...and "Do."

Longuski's text is peppered with examples from the space programme of where these principles have been applied and lift off achieved. These out-of-this-world examples make the book like tang to your inner astronaut. But there is down side to the story too. Longuski is critical of NASA's well publicised recent failures and blames the failures on losing track from the seven principles expounded herein. Longuski is deeply concerned to get NASA back on track.
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