Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing

Doubleday. Dec. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780385546492. $30. BUS
Robison, an investigative journalist for Bloomberg, writes a gripping tale about the demise of Boeing—the economic titan that was once a symbol of American business superiority. However, after two Boeing 737 Max jets crashed in 2018 and 2019, killing more than 300 people, research into the company exposed damning truths. Interviews with current and former Boeing employees reveal that saving the company money was more important than saving lives, and that FAA crash patterns were routinely ignored. It became clear that Boeing had a strong but dysfunctional corporate culture that valued the bottom line above all else and that the company never took ownership of its mistakes. As the author tells, pilots frequently had to make life-saving decisions by consulting binders of printed information to bypass complicated, frozen flight control systems—often while their planes were nosediving at 500 miles per hour. Equally unbelievable were the legal battles family members endured against Boeing to get justice and improve air safety.
VERDICT Robison’s fast-paced account serves as an excellent case study of business mismanagement. It should be read by air travel consumers and professionals alike and will have broad appeal as a story about the rise and fall of a historic business.
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