Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed
Ben Rich had a specific purpose when he wrote the book Skunk Works, and he tells the readers throughout the novel. Rich wants to give readers an inside story to the inner workings of the top-secret facility that developed advanced fighters called the Skunk Works, and he describes the events as he witnessed them. The book is non-fiction, and its entire purpose is to inform and occasionally entertain readers with anecdotes and stories, facts and figures, or even dates and details. The book is tol...more
The Skunk Works is a part of the Lockhead Corporation, one of the few major contractors for high-tech defense contracts with the U.S. government-...more
Mr. Rich takes the reader from his junior...more
Ben Rich was able to portray the stress and a certain level of precision that comes with building the most advanced aircrafts in the world. Rich was also able to dis...more
U-2 SPYPLANE: "The U-2 overflights of the Soviet Union provided us with the greates intelligence breakthrough of the twentieth century. ... For example, those overflights eliminated almost entirely the ability of the Kremlin ever to launch a surprise preemptive strike against the West. There was no way they could prepare for war without our cameras revealing the size and scope of those activities." (comments by Richard Helm...more
E.g., he says that a certain reconaissance drone project failed because of Air Force interference. There were too many people involved, and the need to justify their existance led to a 100% failure rate. Later, he talks about how to save money in defense procurement: get rid of unnecessary Air Force and other go...more
The Skunkworks delivered the F-117A stealth fighter as well as the U-2 spy plane and the SR-71 Blackbird,...more
"I didn't give a damn about the airplane's performance characteristics because its only purpose was to demonstrate the lowest radar signature ever recorded. I joked that if we couldn't get her airborne, maybe we c...more
It makes you wonder what's been under development and secret use for the past few decades. Every once in a while, we the public get a sneak peak (stealth drone captured by Iran, abandoned stealth chopper used in the Bin Laden raid) and I relate back to this book to marvel at the skunk works sti...more
But more than this, more than just the 'boys and their toys' side of the book Skunk Works also contains an interesting busine...more
It's not some techno-thriller; it's real people with real problems, solving them at the highest levels. I came away in awe of these guys. Le...more
Rich's personal story is enhanced with 2-3 page...more
The author has given the lucid account of development of stealth fighter, U2, black bird and other projects. Intermixed is the cold...more
- When others think outside the box, you think outside the box.
- Every company needs a skunk works.
- Every person needs a halo project.
- Don't let HR, friends, frenemies, or anyone else put you in a box.
- Steal from the best; it's the internals who don't know how valuable an idea is.
- Secrets are exciting.
The greatest thing in the book was the insight in their management and engineering practices.
The second greatest was the insight into the many-billion-dollar American defense industry.
The pieces of war history explained made for quick and engaged reading.
The tone was patriotic American to which I couldn't relate for obvious reasons.