Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed

 This book was written the 1990's and remains the best one on the Skunkworks.  The Skunkworks was of course the nick name given to the special devision of Lockheed that developed some of the most important military aircrafts in the world.  Often leap frogging any other nation with new advanced technology and design.  This book is full of storeis from Ben Rich whio ran the Skunk works for over 15 years. 

This books is satisfying on multiple levels:

1. Aircraft design and history - details of the F-117, the U2, and the SR-71 blackbird are fully described here.  Leading the user on the initial design, failures, and eventual success of these remarkable planes.

2. History - the design goals of these aircrafts can be placed directly in the context of the cold war and in the case of the F-117, the need to secure US air superiority after major gains in Soviet technology in the 1970's and 80s.

3. Business Management - the descripton of how the skunkworks operated within lockheed, eliminatin bureaucracy, small effective teams, communication, and managment not just managing but giving cover to team members to concentrate on the task at hand. These are all great lessons that gets repeated but not often successfully implemented in business advice books.

If any or all of these three topics is of interest, don't pass this one by.



No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden - Mark Owen

This book became a quick best seller that is a first person account of US Navy SEAL Team Six's killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakinstan. Written by then SEAL Matt Bissonnette and Journalist Hotler Maurer, the story starts off with Bissonnette's training in for SEAL Team six, the elite group within the already selective Navy SEAL. The official name for Team Six is US Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and we learn that the team numbers were created somewhat randomly to confuse foreign intelligence. In any case, the books is a well written terse description of SEAL training and specifically the additional qualifications required to join Team Six.  The bulk of the book as expected is a blow by blow account of the raid on Bin Laden's compound.  Along the way, we learn much about how these operations are carried out, what can go wrong, and also a dash of the author's somewhat not well hidden distain for the those who command instead of 'doing'. Other than that, the book is relatively clear of politics, instead it’s a well written and will be one of the key primary sources on this chapter of 21st Century history.