Wings of Fire: An Autobiography


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Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the son of a little-educated boat-owner in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, had an unparalleled career as a defence scientist, culminating in the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna. As chief of the country's defence research and development programme, Kalam demonstrated the great potential for dynamism and innovation that existed Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the son...

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January 11th 2011 by Universities Press

(first published 1999)

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Quotes From "Wings of Fire: An Autobiography"

"To live only for some unknown future is superficial. It is like climbing a mountain to reach the peak without experiencing its sides. The sides of the mountain sustain life, not the peak. This is where things grow, experience is gained and technologies are mastered. The importance of the peak lies only in the fact that it defines the sides."
"Adversities always presents opportunities for Introspection."
"As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me."
"Evaluating one's own progress in life is not an easy task. Here the student has to set his own questions, seek his own answers and evaluate them to his own satisfaction."
"The trouble is that we often merely analyse life instead of dealing with it. People dissect their failures for causes and effects, but seldom deal with them and gain experience to master them and thereby avoid their recurrence. This is my belief: That through difficulties and problems God gives us the opportunity to grow. So when your hopes and dreams and goals are dashed, search among the wreckage, you may find a golden opportunity hidden in the ruins."
"To manage the performance of such specialists the team leader has to adopt a delicate balance between the hands-on and the hands-off approach. The hands-on approach takes an active interest on a very regular basis in the members’ work. The hands-off approach trusts team members and recognizes their need for autonomy to carry out their roles, as they see fit. It hinges on their self-motivation. When the leader goes too far with the hands-on approach, he is seen as an
anxious and interfering type. If he goes too far hands-off, he is seen as abdicating his responsibility or not being interested."

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