It is refreshing to see a book about one of NASA's unmanned successes. No wonder why the public is unaware of the JPL. This books gives a glimpse into the many obstacles Pathfinder had even before it left Earth. Muirhead tells the story in a very down-to-earth style. I was a bit disappointed in the frequent references into business applications on the "cheaper, better & faster" approach. At times it disrupted the flow of the book and gave an informercial taste to this book. I would also have liked a closing chpater on some of the scientific results of the little rover that gave us a very memorable Fourth of July in 1997. Overall, I recommend this tale of scientific exploration just because it gives the public information on space exploration that it wouldn't find elsewhere.
...but somewhat repetitive and boring on the "management lessons". It makes great reading and gives you an insight on impossible projects with brilliant results. We all participated on winning teams before - either on sports or business situations - and this winning team just makes you wish you were there, working with them, going through the frustrations and the happy moments. It is one of the best management books I ever read, possibly because I also love space exploration issues.
This has to be the most valuable book I've read in ages. It offers fresh and extremely powerful management techniques. The theories are not just ivory tower meanderings....but, down-to-earth, practical ideas that proved themselves in the field for a manager in a high-pressure, high-power position. The author performs magic by making this very non-fiction work read with the same pace and style of a novel.
When is the last time you read a business book, read it all the way to the end, and wished it was LONGER? Even when you know that the Pathfinder spacecraft landed successfully on Mars, there is still a suspense all the way through, how will they overcome THIS problem, how will they overcome THAT one. This book is too good to miss.
So THAT'S how they build a spacecraft. Great insight into the process and a really amazing glimpse into the mind of the man who made it happen. Lessons that can be applied to nearly any business today. If you only read one business book this year, this is THE ONE.
What's so amazing about this book is that the management approaches they used to build the Pathfinder spacecraft so quickly and so inexpensively sound like ideas every one of us can use every day. Loved the story, loved the ideas. Fascinating and absorbing.
From a good business book, you expect to get ideas you can put into practice to be a better manager. From a good story book, you hope to get a story that carries you along. Getting both in the same book is rare and unexpected. A winner!