Walter’s Way Book Q & A

Chapter 1

Name one of the activities that kept Walter’s mind occupied while quarantined at home.

Listening to Morey Amsterdam’s comedy show; watching the Mystery Lady across the street; listening to the news; reading the newspaper.

What were some fond memories that kept Walter from sinking into the depths of despair while he was quarantined on Welfare Island?

Thoughts of his parents, sisters, and home life; playing stickball games with his friends; pigeon racing; Joe Louis’s 1938 victory in his rematch against Max Schmeling for the world heavyweight championship; Sundays spent at Grandma McCue’s house with his entire family.

Chapter 2

Before antibiotics combined with other drugs were found to be an effective treatment for tuberculosis, what techniques were most commonly used to aid the body in healing?

Bed rest; pneumothorax (temporarily collapsing the lung); and thoracoplasty (removing ribs from the chest wall in order to permanently collapse the infected lung).

Who were Walter’s inspiration and role models during the tough times at Otisville?

Anna and Eadie, his cousins who were stricken with polio when they were young. They spent many months in iron lungs until they were finally able to breathe on their own and learned to walk again.

Walter describes the sanitarium as being like a prison. How were they similar?

The look and smell; the many rules; the burden of having to earn privileges. Although the patients shared a common goal—to recover and be allowed to leave the sanitarium–they felt very anxious about their ability to function outside the walls where they spent so many years.

What was Walter’s greatest fear following his discharge from the sanitarium?

A relapse. He had to weigh himself every week to make sure he wasn’t losing weight, which was a common symptom of TB. On the way to the store where he weighed himself, he would have anxiety attacks about having a relapse.

Who was Walter’s first employer after the sanitarium?

Henry and Fritz at the neighborhood ice cream parlor hired Walter to be a soda jerk.

How often do you take time to reflect and think about life?

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Chapter 3

When Walter was in Otisville, he read about an economic principle that became the essential foundation for many of his business decisions. Who first observed this concept, and how is it referred to today?

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist and political scientist, introduced the concept of the 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s principle or the “law of the vital few.”

What lesson did Walter learn from his first major mistake at Sperry?

He learned that he needed to have a consensus before making and implementing new ideas.

What was the name of the program that Walter directed, during which he had to report to the Navy? What did the program do?

The Polaris Program which produced the Navy’s nuclear-armed ballistic missile system.  Sperry produced the navigational equipment and managed the navigation system.

Chapter 4