Think Like a Rocket Scientist

Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life

by Ozan Varol
April 2020 – Public Affairs (US)

A former rocket scientist reveals the habits, ideas, and strategies that will empower you to turn the seemingly impossible into the possible.

Rocket science is often celebrated as the ultimate triumph of technology. But it’s not. Rather, it’s the apex of a certain thought process—a way to imagine the unimaginable and solve the unsolvable. It’s the same thought process that enabled Neil Armstrong to take his giant leap for mankind, that allows spacecraft to travel millions of miles through outer space and land on a precise spot, and that brings us closer to colonizing other planets.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like one.

In this accessible and practical book, Ozan Varol reveals nine simple strategies from rocket science that you can use to make your own giant leaps in work and life—whether it’s landing your dream job, accelerating your business, learning a new skill, or creating the next breakthrough product.

Today, thinking like a rocket scientist is a necessity. We all encounter complex and unfamiliar problems in our lives. Those who can tackle these problems—without clear guidelines and with the clock ticking—enjoy an extraordinary advantage.

THINK LIKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST will inspire you to take your own moonshot and enable you to achieve liftoff.

Ozan Varol is the youngest tenured professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Before he became a professor, Ozan served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers and the Cassini-Huygens mission that sent a probe to Saturn. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, BBC, TIME, CNN, Washington Post, Quartz, Slate, and Foreign Policy, and is a regular contributor to Heleo, Quartz, and The Mission, which is the most popular publication on Medium. He has delivered keynote speeches at major corporations, nonprofits, and government institutions, including the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of State. He is also the author of THE DEMOCRATIC COUP D’ÉTAT, which was published by Oxford University Press.


“You’re smarter than you think. Ozan Varol makes a compelling case for each of us to level up and to contribute at a level we’ve talked ourselves out of. »–Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing

“This is not just an engrossing read—it’s bursting with practical insights. Ozan Varol’s dazzling debut might change how you approach problems. Houston, this book has solutions.”–Adam Grant, author of Originals

“Thinking like a rocket scientist is not rocket science! Packed with witty writing, insightful advice, and invigorating stories, this must-read book will change the way you see the world—and empower you to change the world itself.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet

“By the time you finish reading this endlessly fascinating book, your thinking will be bigger, better, and bolder.”—Daniel H. Pink, author of When