One Giant Leap
The Untold Story of How We Flew to the Moon
The moon landing didn’t just inspire a nation—it proved that, with the right leadership, we can solve complex problems and innovate quickly and under pressure. In his New York Times bestsellerOne Giant Leap, Charles Fishman explains how NASA rose to the impossible challenge set before them—inventing both space travel and modern project management. In talks, Fishman applies the revolutionary lessons of Apollo 11 to today’s urgent problems in business, education, and public life.
When JFK proposed the moon mission, NASA had no rockets, no computer that could navigate there, and certainly no spacesuits for the astronauts to wear. Yet eight years later, the American flag was firmly planted at Tranquility Base. The space race marked the most ambitious, most urgent, and most public project the world had ever seen. To get the job done not only required herculean effort, but bold leadership, creativity, discipline, and the teamwork of an entire country. In One Giant Leap, acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Charles Fishman explains how NASA managed 400,000 people over the course of eight years, without once losing sight of their goal—no matter how daunting it seemed.
Drawing from his years of original research, Fishman dives into the notion of “innovation on-demand:” Can we simply invent what we don’t know? And can we do it on a deadline? A budget? NASA narrowed in on the country’s shared—albeit, unprecedented—goal to create a culture of accountability, trust, autonomy, and community that fueled the project onward. Using the space agency’s unique management model as a blueprint, Fishman shows audiences that creativity does not have to be stifled by process, nor mired in bureaucracy. Intriguing, dramatic, and awe-inspiring, the moon landing undoubtedly makes for a great story, but it offers even more valuable lessons: how to unite in times of crises, how to think about human potential, and how to solve problems big and small. As the world once again faces large, complex, seemingly insurmountable challenges, we turn to mankind’s greatest achievement to guide us through.
Fishman—a three-time winner of the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism—is a renowned investigative and explanatory journalist, and no stranger to NASA. He spent six months covering the Challenger space shuttle disaster as a national reporter for The Washington Post, and has reported on space ever since, for The Atlantic, Fast Company, and Smithsonian. Fishman is also the author of The Wal-Mart Effect, the New York Times bestseller that was the first book to get inside Wal-Mart and explain how the world’s largest company really works. He is also the author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, the bestselling book about water in a generation. Fishman is a contributor to The Atlantic, Fast Company, and Smithsonian, and is also the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, A Curious Mind, about the power of curiosity, with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer.