Ozan Varol’s Book, Think like a rocket scientist is an enjoyable and comprehensive guide to the many foibles of the human mind. Read this book and you’ll get a great overview of how to make sure your mind works at its best when it comes to cracking problems, innovation and creativity. As the title suggests, the examples in the book are drawn heavily from science and technology, rocket science in particular.
The ideas it suggests, however, are not especially rooted in rocket science. A book titled Think like an architect would have a less interesting title but pretty much the same lessons.
Whether or not this is a book for you, therefore, depends on how familiar you are with this territory already. People who read or listen to the likes of Tim Harford, Malcolm Gladwell or Charles Duhigg, for example, will find the contents very familiar. There is little new in this book in that respect, other than the use of examples related to rockets and space travel.
The book’s examples are, even in the year of its publication, in some cases tellingly dated. In particular, the eulogising of Google’s various moonshot projects is looking less impressive as Google/Alphabet itself has moved to limit the financial risk and as the outlook for fully driverless cars has waned. It’s a reminder that there is an awful lot more to being successful than thinking smart.
The book, for all its comprehensive range over how to think smart, only covers a small part of what being successful requires.
If you like this, you might also be interested in Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance.