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Think Like a Rocket Scientist

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Member Reviews

This may seem like a petty objection, but the author is not a rocket scientist. As an undergraduate he did computer work for a professor who was involved with NASA. If that's all it takes to be a rocket scientist, I'm one too. In fact I have him beat because I was hired directly rather than working through a professor. But I was a computer programmer, like the author, not a rocket scientist. A rocket scientist can be a computer programmer too, but not everyone who programs computers for NASA is a rocket scientist.
On the other hand, the author is a skilled writer and motivator, and he does use some characteristics of real rocket scientists to dramatize his points. The rocket scientists the author describes appear to be engineers involved in extraterrestrial projects. He does not seem to have in mind theoreticians or people who study conditions in outer space or on other planets or who build rockets for purposes other than space exploration.
The reason this kind of engineering gets special respect is that it faces two opposing constraints. On one hand it often has to go beyond the cutting edge of technology. On the other, designs generally cannot be tested under the conditions they will face in use, and they cannot be corrected after launch. Given that, it's remarkable how successful space engineers have been, and how rare the failures are.
This is an inspiring way to think about some life decisions, but it's not a perfect one. If you quit your job to start an innovative company, for example, you may be trying things that have never been done before, and you can't pretest your ideas under the conditions they will face after launch. But unlike a rocket launch, you can modify your plans as you go along, in fact that's usually the key to success. If you really thought like a rocket scientist, you'd have to design the smallest decisions over the entire life of the company before you started. Not only would that be pointless, it would cost so much that you'd never start. Rocket science is very expensive.
If you take this book as a way to get motivation for tackling problems that have not been solved previously, and coming up with creative ways to test ideas before committing to them, it has value. But it's not the secret to all projects, in fact it applies completely to no projects I can think of outside of actual rocket science.
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I am loving this book.  It is though provoking and includes some great ideas such as Backcasting.  It is easy to get stuck in a thinking rut and this book could help get you out of that rut.
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I really enjoyed this book from a rocket scientist to the rest of us. Varol gives great lessons on how to think more rationally and work through problems that appear too difficult to tackle. His stories keep the reader enthralled and shows that at times even rocket scientists don't think like rocket scientists. I recommend this book.
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Disclaimer: I was provided electronic copy of this book by the publisher in return for my unbiased opinion.

Alright folks I had seen this book and heard about it on Amazon and Goodreads before I requested a copy of this book. Having read multiple self-help books, I was hoping for same old same old advise but was I wrong. The author from Page one starts questioning the status quo and rightly so. We have slipped into following routine same path, same methodology and are happy with predetermined and limited definition of success and happiness. This book calls into question all that and asks the readers to not just go above and beyond what's been taught but to forge new paths and methods and redefine what it means to be successful. 
Overall, I really liked this book. It is full of interesting anecdotes with  explanation on how the principles discussed in this book were applied to those anecdotes with uncommon results. It's an easy read. As a bonus you get access to chapter summary and workbook to help you practice the principles discussed in this book.
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Wow, I loved Think Like A Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life, one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read in a long time. Ozan Varol is a former rocket scientist who provides realistic, attainable tips on how to reframe your thinking and employ strategies to obtain different outcomes. The book is divided into three sections: Launch, Accelerate, and Achieve. While I liked all of them, I enjoyed Launch the most, as it was, for me, the most insightful.

”Uncertainty means doing things no one has done before and discovering things that, for at least a brief moment, no other person has seen. Life offers more of itself when we treat uncertainty as a friend, not a foe.”

In addition to embracing uncertainty (something I undoubtedly have room to improve on), among its many concepts, the book suggests rather than forecasting, we engage in backcasting: envisioning the ultimate outcome then working backward to identify challenges and actionable steps to overcoming these barriers or objections. 

”Backcasting reorients you toward the path. If you want to climb a mountain, you’ll imagine training with your backpack on, hiking at high altitudes to get used to the low-oxygen environment, climbing stairs to build up muscles, and running to improve endurance. If you want to write a book, you’ll imagine sitting in front of your computer every single day for two years putting one awkward word after the next, writing one ghastly draft chapter after another, polishing, tweaking, and retweaking—even if you don’t feel like it—with no recognition or accolades.”

I found myself highlighting quite a bit of information throughout the book, which I know will be helpful to revisit. While Think Like a Rocket Scientist initially piqued my interest, I wasn’t sure how technical it would be — There are many rocket scientist examples included, however, they were easy to understand and I appreciate the numerous examples from other industries too
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I love books that offer insights from multiple fields of study and make them applicable to our everyday situations. Think like a Rocket Scientist is one of those books - detailed, easy to read, with examples from numerous professions, it is well researched and represents a wealth of knowledge. 

This book is divided into three stages - Launch, Accelerate and Achieve. Launch was definitely my favorite phase because it provided me new ways to think about a situation, confronting the ideas that we are comfortable with to let go and learning how to practice divergent and convergent thinking. Many principles of philosophy were addressed in this section and I loved the discussions around fallacies. 

One of my favorite books last year was Andrew Radar's Beyond the Known. That book was a comprehensive history of exploration. Think like a Rocket Scientist, in my mind, is a follow up to how we can all explore the unknown by confronting our biases, designing out of the box experiments and really giving reign to the child inside of us who lives to explore and learn new things. As a data analyst, the ideas around importance of studying anomalies and how we try to interpret data to conform to our views spoke true to me and I look forward to applying what I have learned to my career.

Thank you to the publisher and author for making this book available to me through NetGalley. I found the accompanying summary and exercise book available on Ozan's website ( super helpful, giving me all the key points in one place. I look forward to revisiting my notes and trying out each of the exercises. Once I have done them, I will share in detail about the book on my blog.
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This book gave beneficial and clear advice on how to think more like a (rocket) scientist. All the information was always supported by real-life examples, making it less abstract and more applicable. Additionally, the author provides free worksheets on his website to help you even further with applying his advice. What sets this book apart from other self-help books, are the super exciting and well-researched rocket science anecdotes that make up the lion share of this book.

However, the number and the volume of these science anecdotes also make this book quite difficult to read. It's almost like reading two books in one, a non-fiction book about space research, and a self-help book. That mix confuses me as to who the audience of this book is supposed to be. You have to be interested in (rocket) science and not just in thinking like a (rocket) scientist to make it through this book. And because of how this book is structured, the advice/self-help part is buried deep in the science stories. So you can't jump to or pick out topics that you're super interested in. It's more like a book you read cover to cover. But also, I got an electronic arc for this book, so maybe the final layout will be more helpful here.
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Brilliant book. 

Compared to bestselling author, Nassem Taleb's book "Black Swan" is the unlikely event that disrupts industries and bankrupts businesses, like a pandemic or housing bust. This book is the answer to avoid getting hurt badly when such situations, and they will happen at some point or the other. 

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur or mid level executive, this book will help you improve your critical thinking skills. You will emerge with new ways to innovate, see patterns and a fresh burst of creativity.
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An excellent exploration of how scientists approach planning, testing, course correction, problem solving, and failure. With entertaining anecdotes and intriguing examples, Ozan points out again and again how business and the media get it wrong by black-and-white tendencies and a lack of critical thinking. An important read during this crucial time when facts and science are under conscious attack.
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Think Like A Rocket Scientist starts with a great forward. It makes you excited to read it and raises your expectations on what you can accomplish after reading it. This super easy to read book outlines a three step process: Launch, Accelerate and Achieve. You launch ideas, accelerate the process of defining them and finally achieve them.  Being able to do any of these is a perilous process, especially if you work in a corporate environment. The book helps define how failure is good, but only up to a point. It examines the difference between convergent and divergent thinking.  It illustrates the perils of seeing certainties and positive outcomes vs, finding out what might have gone wrong each time.  It shows us how to reframe questions instead of only searching for answers. The author uses examples that everyone can relate to such as Apple, Tom Brady, SpaceX and Netflix.  There is also a website to go to for worksheets, challenges and exercises after many chapters. Learning how NASA rocket scientists navigated success and failure and how they analyzed what they were creating, shows us how we can use this in our own lives at work and at home. It is a book I plan to now reread.
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Great read that helps you establish new thought processes and techniques to improve your productivity. There is a strong combination of real world examples, pop culture, and technical procedures to posit each idea. Ozan Varol provides a workbook with key points, questions, practice activities, and weekly emails for any reader that wants them. The additional resources certainly reinforces the ideas from the book and will assist the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas.
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Thank you NetGalley and Public Affairs for the ARC of this book! I don't normally read self-help or business books, which is where I would categorize this book, but I really enjoyed this! The book is written by Ozan Varol, a former actual rocket scientist who worked on the Mars Rover. The book is divided into three sections: launch, accelerate, and achieve. I found the launch section about forming your ideas and overcoming uncertainty to be the most interesting, likely because of where I'm at in my life. Other people may connect more with the other sections. Varol uses examples from rocket science, business, and history to explain why moonshot thinking is important, how dangerous complacency is, and how boredom can be good for you. He also uses examples of successes and failures which made the book more interesting than just talking about successes. I found myself walking away from this book feeling very motivated and excited to put certain aspects of it into practice. I would definitely recommend this book for almost anyone! I think no matter where you are in life, you could learn something from this book.
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I just completed my book review for the March-April issue of Global Business and Organizational Excellence, which includes this title. 

I received some notes on the book (page numbers for quotes) from Johanna Dickson, so I will send her a pdf when the review is published. If there's anyone else you need me to add to that, just let me know.
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Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life is written by a former “rocket scientist.”  Given that scientific thought is simply a goal-directed process, author Ozan Varol shares strategies to approach and solve our life’s complexities. This is an interesting book, for sure, although I suspect I am not enough of a science Geek to truly appreciate much of the science references, which I subsequently found to be a bit distracting.  For that reason, I deducted one star. Having said that, it is written well, presenting nine useful strategies from rocket science to prompt readers to approach their goals and objectives with confidence.
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I have already recommended this book in social media and signed up for Varol’s newsletter. The book is sharp and insightful, making Varol’s case clearly and effectively. I’ll be purchasing this book for my library’s collection and suggesting it to all my creative friends.
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