Top Books for Engineers

Recommended Reads

Top Books for Engineers


Would you like to get ahead in your engineering role? In today’s fast-paced world of tweets, connects and posts, why not do yourself a favour and take some time out to read a good book and increase your knowledge along the way? It’s well known that many of the most successful people on the planet take time out to read on a daily basis. Bill Gates, for instance, reportedly gets through 50 books every year! Not only is reading a good book enjoyable; it helps stimulates your mind, can develop critical thinking and analytical skills, and perhaps most importantly helps you focus, without which. Everything a successful engineer needs. If you’d like to improve your technical abilities, learn how to deal with your peers better, and feel inspired, here are 5 books to get you started.

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1. The Design of Everyday Things - Donald A. Norman

If you design objects for human use, this book is an essential read. After reading it, you’ll never take an everyday object for granted again. From kettles to door handles, and computers to light switches, this book will help you look at things in a different light than you did before. After reading it, you’ll understand the difference between a good design and a bad design, question why things are made the way they are, and approach your own engineering tasks from a much better informed perspective. If it’s a lesson in all things design you’re after, this is the book for you.

2. Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down - J.E. Gordon

Business Insider noted this book as one of the “14 Books that inspired Elon Musk” (more on him later). If you need a book that strips engineering back to basics, and communicates core principles in a straight-forward way with a dash of wit, then this book is the answer. Consider this book a tool that can help you on your engineering journey. If you’re trying to get a grip on basic forces that hold things together, be it skyscrapers, dams, bridges, or everyday structures in your own home, then this book will help alleviate any confusion and break things down in a simple, easy to understand way.

Top Books for engineers3. Basic Machines and How They Work, Revised (1994) Edition - Naval Education And Training Program

This revised edition of the classic book delves into the fundamentals of engineering, and covers the basic theory of a vast range of mechanical products. Although written originally for U.S. Naval Training Schools, it’s an extremely valuable reference guide for any serious engineer. Each concept is clearly defined, and the book follows the natural progression from theory, to design, to application, with clear presentation drawings, diagrams and cut-aways that help you to see what’s going on inside. You can expect to learn about levers, gears, pulleys, hoists, wheels, axles, combustion engines and a lot more.

4. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future - Ashlee Vance

Mention the name Elon Musk to anyone from an 8 year old to an 80 year old, and the chances are, they know exactly who you’re talking about. He’s a modern day inspiration. When it comes to extreme idea generation, turning massive engineering feats into reality, and showcasing an unrelenting work ethic - he’s right up there at the top of the pile. This book will give you an insight into the extraordinary life of Elon Musk, one of the most exciting and unpredictable innovators and entrepreneurs of our generation. You could learn a lot from emulating some of his work ethics in your engineering role.

 5. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

Would you like to improve relationships with your peers, get your managers to buy in to your ideas, and maybe even build some more confidence in the workplace? This book has it all. Another classic, Dale Carnegie’s, “How to Win Friends…” has garnered all types of rave reviews through the years, and it’s a real game changer when it comes to dealing with people. Technical ability and knowledge is an essential asset for all engineers, but to be able to communicate that information in the best way possible is equally as valuable. To get ahead, read this book and learn how some simple, easy to implement techniques can improve your working relationships. 

So there you have it. Reading these 5 books can really help you grow, both professionally and personally, and may even help to give you a better opportunity to progress in your engineering role. Sure, they won’t give you all the answers to solve your engineering problems, but they’ll definitely strengthen your knowledge, improve your analytical thinking and give you some of the tools you need to succeed. Enjoy.