Happy New Year engineers! With the New Year come New Year’s resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions is to read more. But in order to start reading more, you need to have a great lineup of books you are excited about. This list is here to help. Below are 10 great books that engineers should read in 2018.
If you enjoyed watching Hidden Figures in 2017, then Rise of the Rocket Girls should be the first book on your nightstand. Often people think of space exploration as a male-led sector. But there were plenty of women computing and researching. This novel gives a history of the role of women in space exploration, computing, building space shuttles and satellites, and more in the 1940s and '50s.
2) Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman
2017 gave us the first commercial driverless car and self-driving car tech is getting more advanced every day. Tesla has announced its self-driving trailer truck, both Lyft and Uber have been testing driverless cars for their customers, and Ford has teamed up with Dominos to test driverless pizza delivery. Clearly driverless cars are the future. Driverless was released in 2017 and this book gives the reader understanding of the risks and benefits of driverless cars. Engineers need to have all this information in their heads because it is practically guaranteed that self-driving cars will affect their jobs.
3) The Making of an Expert Engineer by James Trevelyan
This book from 2014 provides the reader with the principles of engineering practice and knowledge that the author has gathered from his decade of research in the engineering field. A lot of expert engineering knowledge has been passed down by word of mouth, from engineer to engineer. Trevelyan decided to write down this knowledge, and this book was created. Young engineers can now learn from the many experts in one book.
4) Engineering Legends: Great American Civil Engineers by Richard Weingardt
This book gives engineers a lesson in American engineering history. This novel doesn’t focus so much on the engineering achievements in American civil engineering, but it focuses on the engineers behind them. The book explores the lives and progress of 32 American civil engineers from the 1700s to early 2000s. This is a great read for engineers because knowing the people who have developed your craft to where it is today is important.
5) Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
Elon Musk is one of the leaders behind many of the recent inventions and engineering innovations we have seen in the last year or so. He is also the man who is behind many of the innovations we will see in the coming years. This New York Times Bestseller chronicles Musk’s life and his inventions and companies that have made him the leader in innovation. Engineers should be paying attention to Musk, starting with this book about his life.
This book may not appear to be specifically about engineering, but don’t let the artsy cover fool you. Radical Evolution is all about how humans are engineering the next stage of our evolution. The book talks about advances in genetics, robotics, information and nanotechnologies, and how they are altering the human mind, memories, metabolism, personalities and more. This book says that engineering is behind the next phase in human existence and it is a fascinating read for any engineer.
Engineers are behind more than machinery. Engineering is behind even the smallest things in everyday life, like a paper clip. The Evolution of Useful Things gives the reader a history of small things that they may not have given a second thought. While giving the history of these items, Petroski provides his theory of technological innovation and why engineers and innovators develop items.
8) Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Erica Wagner
This book landed in Amazon’s Best Science Books of 2017 list. Chief Engineer is a full biography of Washington Roebling, who built the Brooklyn Bridge. Roebling is often forgotten, even though his bridge is an iconic New York structure. Engineers should read this biography of Roebling to know the engineer behind the bridge.
9) Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering by Henry Petroski
Another book from Petroski, but this time it is about failures in engineering over the years. Petroski says that engineers learn more from a design failure than a design success. This book covers some of the greatest errors in the history of engineering, and how engineers have learned from them. A great history book that engineers should read in order to know how their industry has evolved from failure.
10) The Existential Pleasures of Engineering by Samuel C. Florman
This book explores how engineers think and feel about their profession. Florman’s aim with this book was to break the myth that engineering is cold and passionless. Florman wanted to celebrate engineering because it is a vital part of life. This book gives the reader a practical, creative and amusing story of engineering that will give any engineer pride.
Any of these books are great reads for to get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolution, or if you just want to learn more about engineering. Now read away!