on May 7th, 2024

In the flurry of daily responsibilities and tasks that engineers tend to, their quest for knowledge must never wane. Amid this hustle and bustle, the simple act of picking up a book can be a gateway to learning, growth and satisfaction. 

books engineers should read
Reading is one of the best sources to increase knowledge

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) is staffed by knowledgeable academics who teach their students more than just the technical aspects of designing structures or wiring circuits.  

They also aim to instill in their students the essential qualities of being engineers. They encourage them to acquire a broader engineering knowledge from other sources, including colleagues, friends, journals and books. 

As Steve Jobs famously said, “Learn continually – there is always ‘one more thing’ to learn!” 

8 Books You Should Read  

We consulted our top lecturers at EIT and asked them to share their favorite books that they believe every engineer should read at least once. After careful consideration, we curated a list of the best books covering a wide range of themes, perspectives, theories, and topics in science and engineering. 

These books all tap into different engineering fields/disciplines such as engineering management, electrical, mechanical, civil, structural, renewable energy, industrial automation, data communications, and electronic engineering.  

Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime – Sean Carroll  

Sean Carroll’s book “Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime,” explores the contentious debates within physics surrounding the interpretation of quantum mechanics.  

Carroll argues against the Copenhagen interpretation, favoring the Many Worlds interpretation, which suggests that when a measurement is made, the universe branches into multiple parallel copies, each representing a different outcome.  

Readers will appreciate Carroll’s clear and compelling presentation of complex ideas, even though they may remain unconvinced by the Many Worlds interpretation.  

Carroll’s book encourages readers to engage deeply with the profound questions posed by quantum mechanics, regardless of whether they ultimately accept his viewpoint. 

The Fabric of the Cosmos – Brian Greene  

Brian Greene’s book offers a captivating exploration of space and time, unraveling their enigmatic nature and challenging common perceptions.  

Through engaging questions and vivid explanations, Greene guides readers from Newton’s static universe to Einstein’s dynamic spacetime, and into the field of quantum mechanics where distant objects can influence each other instantaneously.  

He argues that time’s directionality is not inherent but a consequence of the universe’s initial state at the big bang.  

Greene also explores recent advancements in superstring and M-theory, proposing an eleven-dimensional “multiverse” where space and time may transform into more fundamental entities.  

With wit and humor, Greene invites readers on an illuminating journey, revealing the hidden layers of reality uncovered by modern physics. 

Quantum Enigma – Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner  

Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner’s book “Quantum Enigma,” explores the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics.  

The reader will pick up that while quantum mechanics emphasizes the role of conscious perception in understanding physical laws, consciousness should be seen as integral to our experience rather than directly influencing physical phenomena.  

Reviewers commend the book for its accessibility and originality, noting its success in conveying the intricacies of quantum mechanics without equations.  

Algorithms to Live By – Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths  

The book explores the application of computer science algorithms to real-life situations, drawing parallels between the two domains. Readers will praise the authors for making algorithms accessible to lay people and removing the stigma around the term.  

However, they note that while the book succeeds in conveying insights from computer algorithms, its direct application to real-life may be limited due to the constraints and complexities of human existence.  

Despite this, the book is written in an easy-to-understand language, with each chapter focusing on a different aspect of computer science and providing practical advice for readers.   

Reviewers also highlight the humor present in the book, making it an engaging read for both those familiar with computer science and those new to the subject.

Engineering Ethics: An Industrial Perspective – Gail Baura  

The book discusses the importance of Engineering Ethics, particularly considering legislation like the Sarbanes/Oxley Act (a United States federal law that mandates certain practices in financial record keeping and reporting for corporations.), which emphasizes protections for whistleblowers.  

The book aims to provide a clear understanding of Engineering Ethics through detailed case studies. It begins with a concise overview of various approaches to engineering ethics before looking into 13 detailed case studies.  

Each case study follows a consistent format, providing background information, historical summary, media effects, outcomes, and interpretations. These case studies aim to illustrate the ethical issues at play and offer insights into what should or should not have been done by the engineers, scientists, and managers involved.  

Overall, the book serves as a valuable resource for understanding and navigating the complex ethical dilemmas faced by engineers in their work. 

The Making of An Expert Engineer – James Trevelyan  

This book offers a comprehensive exploration of engineering practice, distilling invaluable knowledge researched and gathered over a decade. It aims to capture the unwritten principles of engineering, often passed down through generations as experiential wisdom.  

Written for engineers of all levels, the book provides insights to enhance career satisfaction and deliver more valuable results for employers and clients.  

Unlike traditional approaches that treat certain aspects of engineering practice as non-technical, the book demonstrates how these issues are inherently technical. It emphasizes that management schools and psychologists often lack the necessary understanding of the technical dimensions of engineering work, leading to disappointing results.  

By bridging the gap between technical issues and organizational behavior, this book fills a crucial void in engineering knowledge. It is based on rigorous research yet presented in an accessible style suitable for a wide audience. 

Dare to Lead – Brené Brown  

The book by Brené Brown offers a fresh perspective on leadership, focusing on the human aspect rather than productivity techniques.  

Brown investigates the psychology of relationships within the business environment, challenging the traditional notion of leadership as being distant and unemotional. She introduces the idea that great leaders embrace vulnerability, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and connection in leadership roles.  

Through her insights, Brown encourages readers to cultivate a leadership style that is rooted in empathy and courage, ultimately fostering more meaningful and effective relationships in the workplace. 

The Art of Engineering Leadership – Michael Jantzer and Godehard Nentwig  

In today’s interconnected world, inspiring products and services are essential. This book offers leaders and developers valuable insights into effective development methods and organizational structures.  

From fundamental questions about organizational purpose to concrete strategies for quality assurance and team building, it provides practical guidance for navigating complex challenges and driving meaningful change in the workplace.  

Built on extensive research and practical experience, it equips readers with the tools they need to succeed in today’s dynamic landscape of systems design. 

Knowledge is Power  

In engineering, pursuing knowledge continually is an endeavor crucial for professional advancement. Engineers understand that their roles encompass more than just technical expertise; they also involve qualities such as creativity, discipline, and ethical behavior. Embracing a philosophy of lifelong learning, engineers appreciate the diverse sources of knowledge available to them, including books, which offer unique perspectives and insights. 

This carefully curated selection of books underscores EIT’s commitment to empowering engineers with a wealth of ideas and concepts across various disciplines.  These books provide invaluable guidance and inspiration whether you’re looking to deepen your comprehension of quantum theory, refine your leadership abilities, or navigate complex ethical challenges. 

References  

Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime 

The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene 

Quantum Enigma by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner 

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths 

Engineering Ethics: An Industrial Perspective by Gail Baura 

The Making of An Expert Engineer by James Trevelyan 

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown  

The Art of Engineering Leadership by Michael Jantzer and Godehard Nentwig  

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