A couple months ago, I read John McCullough’s book about the Wright brothers–a fascinating story of hometown heroes who accomplish something extraordinary through dedication and hard work. It was amazing to hear of how the Wright brothers took what they knew from their days working in a bicycle shop and machining parts and turned it into the first airplane. Now, those first days of the Wright brothers flying around Huffman Prarie in Dayton, Ohio seem so far away, technologically speaking, even though they are quite close from a historical view.
The descendants of the Wright brothers have done many incredible things that we take for granted. Yes, we take for granted flying 30,000 feet in the air inside a metal tube, but I digress. What no one takes for granted, however, is the exploration of the next step in Orville and Wilbur’s journey. And The Right Kind of Crazy is a story precisely about those who took and are still taking the next steps in the name of technology.
Adam Seltzner works at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California and has worked on several missions to explore Mars in various capacities. The Right Kind of Crazy is his story about how he and the team he led landed Curiosity–the Mars rover–safely on the surface of the red planet. The story is instructive for anyone who works in or leads a team. Although many of the lessons have been told in other books, it is useful to hear them in the context of those who are trying to push the bounds of technological advance rather than a business team pushing out widgets.
The Right Kind of Crazy is a quick read and an enjoyable story that tells you a lot about life and work and how your work environment is an important part of having an enjoyable life. It’s a good end-of-summer read and I recommend it to anyone.