SKUNK WORKS

A PERSONAL MEMOIR OF MY YEARS AT LOCKHEED

A top-flight aerospace engineer's engrossing reminiscences of an eventful career in the service of the CIA and US military at the height of the Cold War. With a graceful assist from Janos (co-author of Chuck Yeager's best-selling 1985 autobiography, not reviewed), Rich offers an episodic (probably vetted) account of his nearly 40 years with Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects, an ultrasecret operation better known as the Skunk Works (a name borrowed from the Dogpatch still in Al Capp's ``L'il Abner'' comic strip). During his apprenticeship, the author (who headed ADP from 1975 until his retirement at 65 in 1990) helped design, build, test, and launch the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird, America's enviably successful spy planes. On his watch, the Skunk Works produced the first jet fighter-bomber to employ stealth technology, the oddly configured F-117A, which earned its wings in the unfriendly skies above the Persian Gulf. In addition to Rich's own recital, the text includes commentary from colleagues, intelligence agents, Pentagon brass, test pilots, and others, which puts the narrator's knack for advancing the state of the aerospace art into clearer perspective. While he accentuates the positive, the author does not shy from recalling certain of his unit's turkeys, including a remote- controlled reconnaissance drone that seldom returned from missions over enemy territory; an aircraft fueled by liquid hydrogen (whose explosive power could have blown its users to bits); and a stealth picket ship (eventually sunk by the Navy's missile frigate lobby). Nor does Rich fail to settle old scores with, among others, pols more concerned with their next election than national security. Not one to hold a grudge, however, he closes with some uncommonly sensible suggestions on how US taxpayers could get more bang for their procurement buck in the parlous times ahead. An insider's accessible, informative take on what's needed to get futuristic hardware to contemporary flight lines and launching pads. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 1994

ISBN: 0-316-74330-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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