Wings of Fire


  • guise(15): pretence or likeness
  • quixotic(119): extremely idealistic; unrealistic and impractical


  1. "When you pray," he said, "you transcend your body and become a part of the cosmos, which knows no division of wealth, age, caste, or creed" (p. 4)
  2. When troubles come, try to understand the relevance of your sufferings. Adversity always presents opportunities for introspection. (p. 5)
  3. He quoted Khalil Gibran to my hesitant mother, "Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts." (p. 10)
  4. decay is inherent in all compounded things (p. 15)
  5. I wonder why some people tend to see science as something which takes man away from God. As I look at it, the path of science can always wind through the heart. For me, science has always been the path to spiritual enrichment and self-realisation. (p. 15)
  6. The highly complicated calculations manipulated around the precise movements of celestial bodies to derive highly subjective conclusions appear illogical to me. (p. 15)
  7. "He who knows others is learned, but the wise one is the one who knows himself. Learning without wisdom is of no use." (p. 17)
  8. About Indians he says: Loyalty to different rulers has dulled our capacity for a single allegiance. Instead, we have developed an extraordinary ability to be compassionate and cruel, sensitive and callous, deep and fickle, all at the same time. (p. 26)
  9. I learned that once your mind stretches to a new level it never goes back to its original dimension. (p. 28)
  10. The best performances are accomplished when you are relaxed and free of doubt.
  11. You cannot expect a person to deliver results if you humilate him, nor can you expect him to be creative if you abuse him or despise him. (p. 38)
  12. Prof. Sarabhai telling Kalam: "Look, my job is to make decisions; but it is equally important to see to it that these decisions are accepted by my team members." (p. 44)
  13. Khalil Gibran: "Bread baked without love is a bitter bread that feeds but half a man's hunger," - those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around. (p. 45)
  14. If you are a writer who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission. (p. 45)
  15. ... it is essential for a project manager to learn to live with uncertainty and ambiguity. (p. 50)
  16. A quotation from General Goerge Patton - that a good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week. It is a myth that to win big one must strive to optimise, the author felt. Optimisation wins only on paper, but would invariably lose later in the real world. (p. 50)
  17. For all your days prepare And meet them ever alike When you are the anvil, bear - When you are the hammer, strike (p. 51)
  18. I have always considered the price of perfection prohibitive and allowed mistakes as a part of the learning process. (p. 58)
  19. I made it an unfailing routine to make notes on individual suggestions... (p. 59)
  20. How good is a leader? No better than his people and their commitment and participation in the project as full partners! (p. 59)
  21. Mistakes can delay or prevent the proper achievement of the objectives of individuals and organisations, but a visionary like Prof. Sarabhai can use errors as opportunities to promote innovation and the development of new ideas. (p. 62)
  22. When the leader goes too far with the hands-on approach, he is seen as anxious and interfering type. If he goes too far hands-off, he is seen as abdicating his responsibility or not being interested. (p. 68)
  23. In a way, communication was my mantra for managing this gigantic project: To get the best from my team members, I spoke to them frequently on the goals and objectives of the organisation, emphasising the importance of each member's specific contribution towards the realisation of these goals. (p. 75)
  24. Most of the time, communication gets confused with conversation. (p. 76)
  25. It is very important to realise that communication is a two-party affair which aims at passing on or receiving a specific piece of information. (p. 76)
  26. Anyone who has taken up the responsibility to lead a team can be successful only if he is sufficiently independent, powerful and influential in his own right to become a person to reckon with. (p. 77)
  27. A leader can only be free to lead his team if he keeps abreast of all that is happening around him - in real time. To lead in a way, is to engage in continuing education. (p. 77)
  28. The truth is that there is a great deal that most of us can individually do to increase our freedom. We can combat the forces that threaten to opress us. We can fortify ourselves with the qualities and conditions that promote individual freedom. (p. 77)
  29. Performance Dimensions are broader and deeper than what a person must know and be able to do in order to function well in his or her job. (p. 81)
  30. But you should always remember that we don't just build on successes, we also build on failures. (p. 88)
  31. The difference between an energetic and a confused person is the difference in the way their minds handle their experiences. (p. 90)
  32. Prof. Dhawan - You have to dream before your dreams come true. Some people stride towards whatever it is that they want in life; others shuffle their feet and never get started because they do not know what they want - and do not know how to find it either. (p. 112)