Light Reading Recommendations for House CJS Appropriators

Some tweeted comments from the recent House Commerce, Justice, and Science budget markup meeting gave me some ideas for light reading for our esteemed House Appropriators.

Specifically, Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) of SpaceNews tweeted that:

This made me think they could possibly enjoy the following two old business books (or at least the Cliff Notes versions):

  • The Goal — This 1984 classic introduces the Theory of Constraints, which demonstrates that applying resources to parts of a process that are not the bottleneck rarely helps improve throughput. Like for instance providing more funding to SLS and Orion when the bottleneck is the ESA-developed Orion Service Module, and the lack of manned spaceflight payloads being funded.
  • The Mythical Man Month — I haven’t actually read this one, but like most people and the Bible, I can paraphrase some general points. One of the great insights from this book is that it’s often not possible to expedite a late project by throwing more people and resources at it. Or as von Braun said: “[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with 9 women pregnant, you can get a baby a month.” A relevant example of this is that throwing more resources at SLS and Orion in the hopes that maybe they’ll still fly EM-1 in 2017.

Anyhow, I just wanted to provide these recommendations in case any readers happen to be friends with any of the House Appropriators and didn’t know what to get them for Christmas this year.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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3 Responses to Light Reading Recommendations for House CJS Appropriators

  1. Robert Clark says:

    Apropos of nothing, but in relation to the von Braun analogy, “[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with 9 women pregnant, you can get a baby a month,” it is amusing that if the pregnant women are chosen at random then you would get a baby a month. 😉

    Bob Clark

  2. James C Cooper says:

    The best way is to give two copies of The Mythical Man Month. So they can read it twice as fast.

  3. mike shupp says:

    THE MYTHICAL MAN MONTH is well worth reading, particularly when you consider that the author was actually involved in a real-world engineering task — namely bossing the implementation of the IBM 360 operating system. Brooks wasn’t a bull-shit consultant in other words; he played a large role in creating the world we live in.

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