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The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made A Difference Paperback – October 28, 2002


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The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made A Difference + Rickover: Father of the Nuclear Navy (Potomac's Military Profiles) + Rickover: The Struggle for Excellence
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 486 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (October 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595252702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595252701
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rockwell, Rickover's former technical director, has written a notable, anecdote-rich biography of the controversial "father of the nuclear navy." In 1951 Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986), then an obscure captain in the navy's Bureau of Ships, set himself the task of creating an atomic submarine. Four-and-a-half years later, USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear sub, joined the fleet. In lay language, Rockwell explains how he accomplished this amazing feat. For one thing, Rickover gave new meaning to the concept of industrial quality control. Rockwell also makes clear why his former boss was widely hated and feared, and provides examples of his unique ability to infuriate as well as inspire. Most prominently, Rockwell demonstrates Rickover's genius for getting things done. Finally, he relates the strange story of Rickover's enforced retirement in 1982 at the instigation of Navy Secretary John Lehman, who accused him of accepting favors from contractors. If this fine biography has a flaw, it is the author's failure to explain adequately why Lehman was so implacably hostile to the man who immeasurably strengthened the United States Navy. Illustrations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Author Theodore Rockwell is a nuclear engineer, with nearly sixty years experience in nuclear power. He worked directly for Admiral Rickover for 15 years as the program was just getting under way. He was Rickover?s Technical Director for the last ten of those years, and kept in touch with the Admiral until his death in 1986.

More About the Author

He's written many technical papers and popular articles, including "Frontier Life Among the Atom Splitters" (SatEvePost, Dec 1, 1945), "Bred for Fury," (first color stroboflash pictures of fighting cocks in action; (True, July 1946), "Heresy, Excommunication and Other Weeds in the Garden of Science" (New Realities, Dec 1981), and "Vice Versa," three one-act plays professionally produced as a staged reading at Washington's Source Theater. He's a Life Member of the Philosophical Society of Washington (founded by Joseph Henry in 1875), and for 12 years was the official representative of the Parapsychological Association to the American Assn for the Advancement of Science.

He is an honorary member of the Shanghai Qigong Research Center, and is listed in various references such as "World Who's Who in Science from Antiquity to Present," and "Who's Who in Theology and Science." His writings have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and German.

He's the first Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer to be sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, and was Invited Distinguished Lecturer at the World Nuclear University Summer Sessions in Stockholm (2006) and Cheongju, Korea (2007).

Customer Reviews

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Love him or hate him I believe Hyman Rickover is one of the greatest citizens this nation has ever had.
Jeff Knight
Every leader embarking on organizational transformation strategies can learn from the mistakes and successes of Rickover depicted within this book.
Russell Herrell
This book ties in all the facets of the industry that had to be built and how new standards had to be formed and instituted.
Paul D. Pipher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. O'Hara on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Many biographies have been written about Hyman Rickover, the father of the Nuclear Navy, which focus on his dictatorial idiosyncrasies and leave the reader wondering how anyone could have ever worked for him. In "The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made A Difference" author Ted Rockwell discusses how Rickover's leadership style created a paradigm shift among all of the organizations he came in contact with focusing away from the status quo and toward operational excellence and high-reliability. Rockwell, who worked for Rickover from 1949 to 1964 and served as the Technical Director of the U.S. Naval Reactors Program (NR) between 1954 and 1964 is certainly in one of the best positions to discuss his perceptions of Rickover's personality, work ethic, and style.
One of the quotes from the book that impressed me very much was that Rickover questioned how people who admitted they could never have accomplished what he had done -- building the first atomic submarine from abstract concept to reality in record time - could question his leadership and management style. Critics generally focus on Rickover's demanding style as ruthless and insensitive, when in reality he was building a committed organization and shaking out those that were not as dedicated as he was. It is quite obvious that Rickover would never had asked anyone to do anything he was not willing to do.
Rockwell's story encompasses his recruitment out of the post Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge until Rickover's death.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Russell Herrell on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
The lessons, stories and themes within this book extend well beyond the nuclear navy and into many process oriented, high availability and quality sensitive disciplines - for me, that has included IT Service Management.

As a former nuclear submarine officer I both suffered under and learned from the practices set in place by this single individual. I later pulled from those methods to fill the voids largely missing in IT service operations - most notably: persistent quality management, continuous improvement philosophy and practices, process optimization, investing heavily in professional and team development, management by facts not beliefs, inherent risk controls, necessity for inspection and tailored metrics, standard procedures, focus on mission (business) performance and the overriding importance and constraints of an organization's culture. Interestingly the existing culture that Rickover set in motion does not view these qualities as unique or particularly rare as they have become common place and self sustaining. Every leader embarking on organizational transformation strategies can learn from the mistakes and successes of Rickover depicted within this book.

Explore for yourself and discover how many of the answers sought by today's IT leaders already exist only a couple hundred feet beneath the oceans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adam Cohen on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rickover is a legend in the nuclear field, and this book fills in many of the details to illustrate that the legend was a person and was following a very logical progression in building the industry we enjoy (without fanfare!) today. The people engaged in any industry today, particularly those now in or thinking of entering the nuclear field, would do benefit by understanding the history described in this book. Very well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P.Larson on December 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book to read to really understand the reasons ADM. Rickover operated in the way he did. He was a outpoken, poorly understood man very ahead of his time. The man is a unsung hero of our modern times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Lake on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought it because the Diane Sawyer interview popped in my head after all these years ... and I needed to satisfy my need to understand the man.

But really a good read and the feat of getting something so comlex operational in 10 years is almost unimaginable. And the author allows those of us not well versed nuclear physics to still get to the heart of the Rickover's accomplishment.

If you're in management, this book is a must.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Al Cornish on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An engaging, personal account of the birth of the US Naval Reactors program, as told by Theodore Rockwell, an engineer who worked closely with Admiral Hyman Rickover on the creation of the nuclear submarine. Rockwell's account emphasizes the groundbreaking work that was required to create the USS Nautilus - the engagement of industrial firms like Westinghouse and GE and the creation of extremely high standards for all facets of work.

Rockwell's account is a personal one and isn't a complete survey of the Naval Reactors program during its early years. It does provide an excellent view into the leadership and character of Hyman Rickover, who set a very high standard for Naval and civilian personnel and contractor firms.

A good read for those interested in: Naval history, with an emphasis on technology; and, in the history of technology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By david collins on July 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
The title could have been called: how a leader can successfully deal with bureaucracy while maintaining high standards and values. If you read the 2008 book "Influencer - the power to change anything" Rickover was an "influencer virtuoso". Rickover understood the dynamics of motivation and ability at the three [personal, social and structural] levels. Rickover did some unusual things with the people who reported to him [many mostly harmless "social experiments" intentionally placing people in unusual and challenging situations, to see what people were made of] which I frequently found humorous. People that say Rickover was a "nut case" are only capable of seeing the outer layer of the onion. Inside is a brilliant intellect, leader and manager.
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