Hyman G. Rickover (January 27, 1900 – July 8, 1986) was an Admiral in the U.S. Navy. He directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of the U.S. Naval Reactors office. In addition, he oversaw the development of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the world’s first commercial pressurized water reactor used for generating electricity. Rickover is also one of four people who have been awarded two Congressional Gold Medals.
Though not often cited in the literature, Rickover also introduced quality management that became the basis for SQC, TQM, and a wide range of industrial initiatives.
Some notable quotes:
“Responsibility is a unique concept… You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it is still with you… If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.”
“Success teaches us nothing; only failure teaches.”
“When doing a job — any job — one must feel that he owns it, and act as though he will remain in that job forever.”
“Optimism and stupidity are nearly synonymous.”
“The Devil is in the details, but so is salvation.”
“If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.”