Think Like a Rocket Scientist Book Summary - Think Like a Rocket Scientist Book explained in key points
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Think Like a Rocket Scientist summary

Ozan Varol

Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life

4.5 (268 ratings)
20 mins

What is Think Like a Rocket Scientist about?

Think Like a Rocket Scientist (2020) reveals the strategies that rocket scientists use to innovate, problem-solve, and bring the unimaginable into fruition. By learning the techniques that scientists use every day, you’ll gain powerful tools that will help you fulfill both your professional and personal dreams.

Table of Contents

    Think Like a Rocket Scientist
    summarized in 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Changing your attitude towards uncertainty opens you up to discovery.

    The engineers and scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have a strange tradition. At crucial moments in every space mission, they chomp on peanuts. This phenomenon began when a Ranger spacecraft successfully launched after a long run of failures. An engineer had brought a bag of peanuts into mission control that day. Since then, peanuts are eaten at every launch to ward off bad luck.

    This shows that even the most scientific among us fear uncertainty. That’s why we engage in strange rituals – like eating peanuts or wearing our lucky jeans – to regain a sense of control. We can’t help feeling this way. Fear of the unknown helped keep our ancestors safe from saber-toothed tigers. But when we avoid uncertainty altogether, we close ourselves off to new possibilities.

    The key message here is: Changing your attitude towards uncertainty opens you up to discovery.

    Scientists don’t see uncertainty as something to fear. When faced with a dark, shadow-filled room, they don’t turn away like most of us. They poke around in it until they find a light switch. Once that light’s on, they can evaluate what they’ve found. There might be something curious in the room, or there may be another door leading to yet another mystery.

    Uncertainty doesn’t make scientists panic. It invigorates them. Instead of worrying about the monsters that might be lurking in corners, they focus on all the amazing things awaiting discovery.

    There are some practical steps you can take to get excited about the unknown, instead of letting it inhibit you. Start by asking yourself what the worst possible outcome would be. Next, consider how likely it is for that outcome to occur. Writing down these thoughts puts them in perspective, since tragedy rarely strikes. More often than not, you’ll see that the things you value most will still be intact, even if the worst scenario plays out. Acknowledging this disarms your fears about venturing down a new path. Once you’ve faced your fears, you’ll be free to set off on your journey and see what you can achieve. 




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    Best quote from Think Like a Rocket Scientist

    Hustle and creativity are antithetical to each other. You cant generate breakthroughs while clearing out your inbox.

    —Ozan Varol
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    About the Author

    Ozan Varol’s diverse career spans rocket science, law, and authoring nonfiction books. A former member of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers team, Varol penned Think Like a Rocket Scientist to help non-scientists reach their full potential. His award-winning articles are taught in colleges and graduate schools, and his work has featured widely in US and international media.

    Who should read Think Like a Rocket Scientist?

    • Seekers of original thought
    • Business managers looking for cutting-edge solutions
    • Victims of fear who hold themselves back

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