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.

Star-5