Failure is Not an Option

There are those that dream, and then there are those that make their dreams come true. Failure is Not an Option gets down to the nitty gritty of what it took to be at the core of the manned space program during the Mercury and Apollo missions. Technology is going to unavoidably fail, and when it does, preparation, teamwork, and knowledge of your system down to the very last detail will bring you out on the other side. Gene Kranz provides a riveting account of life at Mission Control over three decade. But the gem of the entire story lies in the Appendix: the Foundations of Mission Control. These are simple rules to live by.

“To instill within ourselves these qualities essential for professional excellence:

Discipline Being able to follow as well as lead, knowing that we must master ourselves before we can master our task.

Competence There being no substitute for total preparation and complete dedication, for space will not tolerate the careless or indifferent.

Confidence Believing in ourselves as well as others, knowing that we must master fear and hesitation before we can succeed.

Responsibility Realizing that it cannot be shifted to others, for it belongs to each of us; we must answer for what we do, or fail to do.

Toughness Taking a stand when we must; to try again, and again, even if it means following a more difficult task.

Teamwork Respecting and utilizing the ability of others, realizing that we work toward a common goal, for success depends on the efforts of all.

To always be aware that suddenly and unexpectedly we may find ourselves in a role where our performance has ultimate consequences.

To recognize that the greatest error is not to have tried and failed, but that in trying, we did not give it our best effort.”

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