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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Seamans, Robert C.
Aiming at Targets: The Autobiography of Robert C. Seamans, Jr./
p. cm. (The NASA History Series) (NASA SP: 4106)
1. Seamans, Robert C. 2. Astronautics-United States—Biography.
Willis H. Shapley
ob Seamans originally was inspired to write this book for his family
and friends. That is a large audience. By his own count his immediate family numbers twenty-four, not counting brothers and cousins and their families. His friends are uncounted but surely run to hundreds. As one of them and as a colleague at NASA, I am pleased and honored that he asked me to write this foreword.
While written in Bob's unique and informal style, this autobiography has significance for many readers beyond his large circles of family and friends. Leaders and students of large, complex technological endeavors should be able to learn much from reading how Bob faced the daunting technical and management challenges in his career. As the title of this book implies, Bob has always set high goals for himself and then kept his eyes focused on both the necessary details and the broader picture. His ability to shift smoothly among jobs that required seemingly disparate abilities and skills speaks volumes about his insight, dedication, and enthusiasm for achievement.
The book spans a truly remarkable life story. Bob first takes us through his growing up, education, and early professional and family life. Next he focuses on the crucial years when he was the general manager of NASA. Then he moves on to his career in the top jobs at the Air Force, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Energy Research and Development Administration. Finally, he touches on his later leadership activities in the academic and business worlds.
Aiming at Targets is a series of fascinating topical vignettes covering his professional life. Taken together, like broad brushstrokes in an impressionist painting, they give a better picture of Bob Seamans and his work than a detailed recitation of facts and dates could hope to do.