Book Review: Against The Tide

Quote of the Day

People may not find themselves prepared for the situation in which they find themselves in life.The good leader recognizes this and reassigns them to a place or position where they can be successful. If there in no appropriate role in which they can flourish, the best course of action for all is to sever the relationship. The only clearly wrong decision is to demand that an unprepared person face a challenging climb alone.

— Admiral Dave Oliver. Man do I buy into this quote. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people thrown into hopeless situations where they could not possibly succeed.

Figure 1: Admiral Hyman Rickover (Source).

Figure 1: Admiral Hyman Rickover (Source).

I have been working my way through a number of management books lately. The best of the lot, Against the Tide, was written by Admiral Dave Oliver about the management principles of Hyman G. Rickover (Figure 1). Years ago, I worked for a retired sub captain named Ernie Fischer. He had a number of interesting stories about serving on a nuclear submarine and about Hyman G. Rickover, the man responsible for creating the modern nuclear navy.

Because of Ernie's stories, I decided to read a biography on Rickover written by the well-known naval author Norman Polmar. The biography was comprehensive, but did not go into details on how Rickover managed people – Dave Oliver's Against The Tide fills this gap.

The book is short (178 pages including index), well-written, and provides some insight into how Rickover managed the introduction of a very complex technology into a very conservative organization (i.e. US Navy). Rickover was a difficult man in many ways, but it would be difficult to argue with his success.

I could summarize the book here, but Dave Oliver does an excellent job in the following Youtube video.

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