We're truly gifted that Charles Lindbergh left this memoir with such vivid detail. The story was so lively. The recall of the night before the takeoff. When he wants to get 2 hours of sleep before the legendary flight. And the man knocks the door:

Man: "Slim, what am I going to do when you're gone?"
Charles: "I don't know"
Charles (thought): When I have only two and a half hours to lie here before flying over the ocean - no, it's two hours now - why can't I be left alone?

I laughed out. The poor guy surrounded by non-thoughtful people. He's very descriptive and entertaining to read overall. Going back his family story while on the NY-Paris plane is historically interesting as well.

His flight was covered all over the news.

I also appreciated the detail in which he raised money and persuaded various stakeholders for such a grand project. That's more on the entrepreneurial education for me. Some of the lessons here:

  • To begin project, you should put your own money. Lindbergh set aside $2000 (8 months average salary of 1920s, and 13% of the project budget).
  • Get 1 person who commit some money first. His first commitment came at $1000. Additionally he's had 2 people with verbal commitment.
  • Talk with manufacturer/engineers for actual feasibility and price quotes.
  • Look for a promotional opportunity for others and split cost (Wright corp took as much as 40% or $10,000 at the time).
  • Once you find one major investor, other people come along and project starts moving.
  • Big corporations (Wright) can screw you at the end.
  • Some financial partners are really supportive.
  • It's ok to find new unknown partners (Rider).
  • You can beat big corporations with your own unique design method (a single engine with few equipments).
  • When innovation is happening, there's little regulation (Charles asked if he needed Visa only after arrival in Paris!)

They are all valuable lessons. Especially the innovation part was all interesting. Everyone has run towards the airports for his planes. Not in my life, there had been any innovation that excited crowds that much except maybe the moon landing. He makes a note he can fly to anywhere now in Europe. Germany, UK, Italy, Africa, and Asia. That was the true frontier at the time. Everyone must have believed in bright rapidly changing future (which was true).

Today, no one cares if anyone takes a flight. The frontier is in space. What a change in perception in 100 years.

"It was like drowning in a human sea."

There's one critical comment I have however. It's not on the criticism of the book, but I was thinking Charles A. Lindbergh did something extraordinary. But as the events unfold in the book, it seems if not for him, another plane made the NY to Paris flight. I cant help but realize he only beat the competition by 1-2 weeks early departure. His contribution to humanity is a little hyped.

Even so, I admire his personal attributes as driven, risk-taker and passion for flight.