The Bookworm Sez: “Ready for Launch” by Scott Kelly

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Takeoff is in three…. two one….

And from this moment, you leave for your future. No matter your situation or your age, when you start something new, there’s a kind of catapult feeling, as the new book shows. Ready for launch by astronaut Scott Kelly.

If you had known Kelly as a child, you might have been surprised at what he has become. Although he was “fearless”, by his own admission, he was a bad student because he “couldn’t pay attention in class”. Even when he entered college and promised himself to do better, his mind was wandering. It wasn’t until he was 18 and stopped at a bookstore “for a chewing gum or something” that he found his calling at the checkout – the book The good thing by Tom Wolfe gave him a direction he had never had before.

In his life and career, Kelly says he’s learned a thing or two that can translate into success for others. The first is that “change is scary…” but mastering it and relearning how to take risks is the only way to move forward. Do not fear failure; remember that it’s “only when you’re willing to risk failure that you aim high enough.”

Don’t get “too comfortable when things aren’t perfect,” he says, and don’t stop making “little adjustments” on the road to success. Look for unusual places to learn to be a leader. Plan to do the impossible.

At first glance, Ready for launch doesn’t seem like enough.

It is a thin, small-area book; there are lots of pictures inside and short short chapters that can probably be read in just a few minutes. In a way, it’s more like the transcript of a graduation speech or board meeting: succinct, spared words, and loaded with useful, if not entirely sensible, advice.

But a glance won’t tell you enough (there’s that word again). You’ll be happy when you dig a little deeper, because what makes these pages work is that author Scott Kelly uses his own stories to inform his advice and, because his youth wasn’t like you might suppose so, the tales become more impactful.

The Bookworm Sez is a self-syndicated column of book reviews by Terri Schlichenmeyer. Follow her on Twitter at @bookwormsez.

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