The definition of an engineer covers lot of aspects. But going by the definition provided by the US Labour Department, “Engineers design materials, structures and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety and cost”. The work of engineers thus form the crucial link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to address the human needs and to improve their quality of life. And hence reading correct books can definitely make a person do all these things much effectively and efficiently.
For the same purpose, we have identified some books as listed below, which an aspiring engineer must read.
- The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement– Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
This book is a must read for engineers. It is written in a fast paced thriller style and the author has been described by Fortune as a ‘guru to industry’ and by Businessweek as a ‘genius’.
In this book, Alex Rogo is a beleaguered plant manager working to improve performance of his factory which is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant, or it will be closed by the corporate Headquarters resulting into hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a colleague from his student days, Jonah, to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking for seeing what needs to be done. And the rest of the book is his journey to save the plant.
Its also a book to recommend for your friends in industry, and even to your bosses, but definitely not to your competitors.
- High Output Management– Andrew S. Grove (Ex-CEO, Intel)
This book integrates both: the production as well as the management models, which are essential to any business activity. In moving up from producing breakfasts to producing software, Mr. Grove introduces principles of work simplification in this book. It was published way back in 1983 and in those days, there were no blogs or TED Talks teaching us about entrepreneurship. Against this backdrop, High Output Management had an almost legendary status. All the best managers knew about it. In fact, some top venture capitalists gave its copies to their entrepreneurs for learning high output management.
- Outliers– Malcolm Gladwell
This book has a quote given by its author, where he says, “It is not the brightest who succeed, nor success is simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them”.
In this book, Gladwell tells a success story. He starts with a tale of individual greatness, about the Beatles or the titans of Silicon Valley or the enormously successful generation of New York Jews born in the early 20th century. Then he adds details that undercut that tale. This is certainly a must read for engineers.
- Peopleware: Productive projects and Teams– Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister
Well, this is a must read book for aspiring software engineers. This book is not one of those books that take up a topic and then spread it unnecessarily into 200 pages of opinions and anecdotes. Rather, it contains concrete advice, which is also backed up by research references. In this book, the author attacks the company policies like cubicles, dress codes, telephones, hiring policies with almost reckless abandon.
The author quotes here that “The purpose of a team is not goal attainment, but goal alignment”.
- Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream– James Altucher
The books first says, “The world is changing. Markets have crashed. Jobs have disappeared. Industries have been disrupted and are being remade before our eyes. Everything we aspired to for “security,” everything we thought was “safe,” no longer is: College. Employment. Retirement. Government. It’s all crumbling down. In every part of society, the middlemen are being pushed out of the picture. No longer is someone coming to hire you, to invest in your company, to sign you, to pick you. It’s on you to make the most important decision in your life: Choose Yourself!”
And this book will teach you exactly that: how to do it. This book has dozens of case studies, interviews and examples including author James Altucher’s own heart breaking and inspiring story. Indeed a good read for all the engineers.
Reading these books is surely a right step towards equipping oneself properly for becoming an effective and successful engineer. Happy reading!