3 Books All Mechanical Engineers Must Read

As per some interviews and resources, we list 3 books that every professional mechanical engineer should shelve. These books convey key lessons and principles. Below are three submitted reviews. These books might already be on your bookshelf. If not, then you might consider referring them.

Let’s take a look:

To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design

..Henry Petroski

This book emphasizes the importance of studying and comprehending design failures as a means to create better designs. This book depicts many known examples of engineering failures such as the the Mianus River bridge collapse, Hyatt Regency skywalk and the DC-10 engine servicing procedure. But the main purpose of the book is to convey a message that failures may be initiated by factors that were not considered in the early design, or not re-evaluated as designs were optimized or altered. As of now, as design analysis and visualization tools became increasingly refined and precise, Petroski’s book reminds says that no computer tool can ever replace typical thinking on the part of an engineer.

- Allen H. Hoffman, professor of mechanical engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

… Robert Pirsig

This book is arguably one of the most important books written in the 20th century. Although published some over 40 years ago, it remains highly relevant today as an important volume on all mechanical engineer’s bookshelf. Created and written well before the formal introduction of quality management and standards, Robert Pirsig asks the question, “What is quality?”—a question that finally literally drove him insane. Written in anarrative form, this book has multiple layers. Basically it is the story of a dad (the author) on a motorcycle trip with his 12-year-old son. As the journey unfolds, the second layer of the book is revealed as the writer comes to terms with a ghost named Phaedrus, who is his former personality prior to his receiving electroshock therapy, which was the finaldownward spiral into insanity. As the story of Phaedrus is slowly unfolded, the third layer of the book is also revealed, which is a journey into the philosophical questions that remain relevant today: Why does technology alienate rather than unify society? What is quality, and if we can’t explain it, how do we live a high-quality life? This book depicts a journey upon which all mechanical engineers should embark.

- Anthony J. Marchese

The Design of Everyday Things

Donald Norman

Every mechanical engineer must have a copy of Don Norman’s awesome book, The Design of Everyday Things. This book is a classic indeed. It’s been through several editions, yet each time the reader reads it develop insights that are new, fresh, and important. This is because the book is partly about design; it is about people too and the ways that people use, or struggle to use, simple, familiar products. Using very simple consumer products such as doors, faucets, and keypads as examples, Norman asks readers to step back fromtheir problem-solving work from time to time and consider how people will use or maintain the things that they have created. The examples of poor design are hilarious and Norman’s guidelines for good design are both simple and profound. The book can change the way people think about the products they use, and about the part they play in creating new products.

- Jeffrey A. Donnell

Hope our blog on the three popular books that every mechanical engineer must keep handy is of great insight for you all.

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