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#164 Robert Goddard (Rocket Man)
January 25th, 2021 | E164

What I learned from reading Rocket Man: Robert Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age by David A. Clary. 


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[18:16] For even though I reasoned with myself that the thing was impossible, there was something inside me which simply would not stop working.  

[20:08] Anything is possible with the man who makes the best use of every minute of his time. 

[20:18] There are limitless opportunities open to the man who appreciates the fact that his own mind is the sole key that unlocks them.  

[32:55] It’s appalling how short life is and how much there is to do. We have to be sports, take chances, and do what we can. 

[35:57] There were limits to Goddard’s ability as a salesman, beginning with his failure to determine the interests of his potential customers.  

[44:18] Goddard must be given his due. The first flight of a liquid-propelled rocket may not have looked like much but nothing like it had ever happened on Earth before.  

[50:28] He explained his work was aimed at high-altitude research, not outer space. The Wright Brothers, he reminded his audience, did not try to cross The Atlantic the first time up.  

[52:32] Emerson says, “If a man paint a better picture, preach a better sermon, or build a better mousetrap than anyone else, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” I have had the misfortune not to be an artist, a preacher, or a manufacturer of mousetraps. I have never had any great talent for selling ideas.  

[59:27]  A boy of exceptional brilliance, of humble origins and poor health, who dreamed great dreams and pursued them throughout a dedicated life. He was a distinguished but absentminded professor, a saintly man of rich humor, an enthusiastic piano player and painter, loved by everybody who knew him. Although his own country failed to appreciate the importance of what he did, he continued in his work despite widespread ridicule and the attempts of others to steal it. He never complained, never evinced discouragement or frustration. Above all, he never gave up. 

[1:04:04]  Goddard was a complex and inscrutable individual. He had many admirable qualities, chief among them the patience, persistence, and iron will that helped him to overcome tuberculosis, then to pursue rocketry for three decades. Seldom expressing frustration or discouragement, he accepted failure as part of invention, and kept on working. 


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