Truth, Lies and O-Rings

I was required to read 4 books on “management” for work (see below) and just finished reading the book Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Allan J. McDonald. The book is about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and its aftermath. Not completely about “management” but certainly about the potential consequences of mis-management.

Like many people around my age, I remember exactly where I was when the Challenger disaster occurred. I was in Jr High School at the time. Our school was brand new and had an open classroom concept where 6th, 7th and 8th graders were separated into “pods” with 3 open classes separated by movable dividers and one enclosed classroom. Our teachers removed all of the dividers in our pod, put us all together and announced that there had been an accident with the shuttle. We spent most of the morning watching CNN.

This was a long book and took several weekends to get through. I won’t write a long review of this because there are already many out there. I have noted before that my professional background started in aircraft maintenance. Unfortunately I was exposed to a few aircraft mishaps (never caused any). The post-mortem investigations always seem to find that the accident could have been avoided at many stages and the Space Shuttle Challenger accident was no different. I would like to believe that the Challenger disaster could not have happened if the US Air Force had been in charge of the program.

This was an excellent book and I can recommend it.

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