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Three Men of Modern Manufacturing

Feb

4

I was being interviewed by Erik Ofgang of Connecticut Magazine this morning. His questions reminded me how few recognize the contemporaneous and parallel accomplishments of Admiral Rickover, Bill Smith of Motorola and W. Edwards Deming.

My book alludes to the fact that Rickover drove industry, as well as the Navy, to better standards than anyone had ever believed possible, and then even higher. Smith did the same thing for computer chip reliability as it was the only way to gain market acceptance for small calculators.  His efforts were subsequently documented in what has become known as Six Sigma.

Dr.Deming was the American electrical engineer generally credited with starting the quality revolution (Kaizen) which nearly destroyed America’s Big Three until Ford hired him to return to the US.

Fortunately for America, all three of these men were working for us all at the same time.

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Day Trips into Cold War History

Jan

29

Several publicists have been working to get more visibility for Against the Tide. One venue they are using is the radio interview, which tends to emphasize the size and diversity of our country. I have spoken to Frank and Taylor during morning drive time in New York (while I  looked out over the rolling black of the Pacific Ocean) and later the same day listened to the afternoon sounds of Clive, Iowa before speaking to John Busbee.

I have done about a dozen interviews now. It is sometimes the first time the interviewer has seen the Cold War period through anything other than a Vietnam focus, and they are interested in sharing this with their audiences.  I think I subconsciously understood very few Americans have an accurate historical context of the Cold War or I would have written this Rickover book differently, but some of my interviewers have said Against the Tide has changed their view of Cold War history.

I have begun to think of these radio segments as day trips into the past.

 

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Snow Alters Plans

Jan

28

Snow in New England in January — who could have expected such an event?  Blizzard Juno moved through New York to Boston this week, sweeping away my speaking engagements with the Electric Boat Management Council, Connecticut Magazine and Tom Pieragostini.

Linda and I flew into the area early, in the event Mother Nature changed her mind, a good idea since New York and Mass closed all their roads for a period and spent the days reading and watching the snow swirl.  We will have to replan for March.  Perhaps we can catch the dogwood blossoming.

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Against the Tide in 3rd Printing; San Diego Plans

Jan

15

Which will be out in February, but the publisher (Naval Institute Press) told me yesterday he still has 300 copies of the second printing available.

Linda and I are firming up our San Diego plans (7-12 February) if there are any groups in that area who would like us to speak.

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2nd Printing Available Soon

Jan

7

Amazon has just announced that they will have books available for shipment on 10 January — a good thing.  These books are from the second printing, which the publisher commissioned in December.

Jim Roy of the Electric Boat Managers’ Council has asked me to be their dinner speaker (Groton, CT) on Tuesday, 27 January. Given the critical role that particular shipyard continues to play in the development of our nuclear submarine force, this should be a interesting audience. The previous day in NYC we will tape an interview about Rickover with Fox.

February 7 to 12 we are in San Diego for book events coincidental with Navy West. The week of 16 March we will be back in DC to speak to Business Executives for National Security. There are also events at the Navy Memorial and the Ralph J Bunche Library at the State Department.

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The Birth of Nuclear Power

Dec

10

It has been instructive the last two years to watch Michael Pack (and his spouse, Gina) put together the Rickover documentary which showed on PBS tonight. Just as photographic art differs from the stokes that create a watercolor, a film-maker approaches his subject differently than a writer. Since Mike and I met only after we had chosen the same subject and begun our work, I found it interesting to watch how we choose different facets of the Admiral’s life and personality to polish in order to best reflect the story we saw.

Nice work, Michael and Gina!

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Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (Rhode Island)

Dec

6

This week Captain Howard Goldman and his staff permitted me to talk about Admiral Rickover’s leadership and management style and the lessons for today.  I hope they enjoyed the ensuing discussion as much as I did.

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Naval War College Museum

Dec

6

John Kennedy at the Naval War College Museum in Newport,Rhode Island, sponsors a luncheon “Eight Bells” discussions.  They are reportedly held atop the very same boards trod by Alfred Thayer Mahan as he expounded the theories that would become The Influence of Sea Power upon History. 

Who could resist an offer to speak in such a locale?  Certainly not I. Therefore Thursday lunch was an enjoyable ninety minutes with local residents as well as some who had driven as many as several hours to attend one of John’s famous events.

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Nautilus Museum in Connecticut

Dec

4

Spoke to the staff of the Submarine Force Library and Submarine Force Museum, where Nautilus, less her reactor, “floats” in a perpetual bed of concrete.  They, and their Officer in Charge, Commander Ben Amdur, have been our gracious hosts the last three days. We spent most of our time focused not on the fascinating story of how Admiral Rickover steered USS Nautilus to life in 1954, and more on why it was that nuclear submarines became so important to our Presidents in their effort to win the Cold War battle over communism — part of the focus of my recent book.

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Leadership Workshops

Dec

3

The Coast Guard Academy today graciously carved out some time from a leadership workshop to discuss how Rickover’s management principles fit into the five practices of Kouzes’ and Prosner’s “Leadership Challenge.” The discussion was two-way and lively.

Later in the afternoon, across a rainy Severn River, Captain Andrew Jarrett did the same thing for the Submarine Officer’s Advanced Course. Here we focused on the criticality of maintaining the culture of responsible safety that Rickover conceived and established — and that has possibly become his signature achievement.

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