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Reading List: F.I.R.E.

These days business books are full of four-letter words; flex and flow immediately come to mind. And now there’s F.I.R.E., the four-letter acronym of the book’s title, which posits that spending less time, money and manpower on a project or product—whether it’s a NASA mission, military equipment, a bridge or a dishwasher—often leads to better outcomes. “Making something more complicated requires effort, not skill; there is a difference,” writes Lt. Col. Dan Ward, an Air Force engineering officer.

To back up his assertion that simplicity and streamlining spawn triumphant, innovative projects, Ward packs the book with stories of NASA missions that succeeded on a shoestring and military hardware that relied on rapid innovation. While Ward doesn’t gloss over the potential problems that can and have occurred amid budget constraints and tight deadlines, he doesn’t fully flesh out the potential risks, either. He does offer advice on how to keep a project in hand by staying focused on immediate goals and how to manage overly exuberant expectations. F.I.R.E. will appeal to project managers, space enthusiasts, military and tech buffs, and anyone who’s ever hired a plumber or general contractor.

by Dan Ward

April
HarperBusiness; $28.99

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