🚀 Breathe.

X

10 Must Read Engineering Books

Learn about engineering best practices for development and management, and become entranced by some stories that you won’t forget.

By Kate Dagher  •   August 31, 2022  •   12 min read

Whether you’re reading for business or for pleasure, engineering books have the power to enrich your life and your career—in engineering or even in another industry! From civil to software engineering, from mechanical engineering to leadership books, each of these recommendations has something unique to offer. These engineering books are recognized as some of the most remarkable engineering books of all time, and many of them are enduring classics. While the list is not exhaustive, these are our top picks for engineering books in 2022 that you won’t be able to put down. In this article, we offer you 10 engineering books to read along with descriptions, key takeaways, some information about each author, and a valuable quote. 

10 of the best engineering books to read 

1Remote Engineering Management: Managing an Engineering Team in a Remote-First World 

Description: 

Remote Engineering Management: Managing an Engineering Team in a Remote-First World is all about how to manage a team from a distance in the most effective way possible so you and your team can thrive through times of change. This book is written by Alexandra Sunderland, Senior Engineering Manager at Fellow! Alexandra takes you through this comprehensive dialogue on the most important processes in engineering teams and elucidates how to actually make teams work effectively in a remote setting or fully remote company. Engineering managers, team leads, directors, and those hoping to move into a lead role will get the most value out of this book. 

Author background: 

Alexandra Sunderland is a Senior Engineering Manager at Fellow.app in Canada, and is the author of the upcoming book Remote Engineering Management: Managing an Engineering Team in a Remote-First World. She enjoys both writing and speaking about anything that relates to engineering. She is also the co-leader of Slack Platform Community’s Ottawa chapter. 

Quote from this book: 

“Regardless of where you are in your management journey though, having those scheduled one-on-ones with your manager is just as important as every other one-on-one that you have. Even the most experienced manager can benefit from the coaching, feedback, alignment, and open space to talk that these meetings offer. And just like how one-onones with your team are valuable to you, these meetings are valuable to your manager too—after all, you’re the link between them and your team, and without strong communication between the two of you, it can isolate an entire group of people from them.”

Great meetings are just the start

Level up your meeting habits to boost engagement and productivity with a collaborative meeting agenda. Try a tool like Fellow!

2Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions

Description: 

Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions provides you with 189 programming questions that can help you ace any interview that you attend. Many software engineers are used to being asked to create impressive algorithms on the spot and then write flawless code on a whiteboard. As such, this book is for those who want to learn how to perform at your very best, both inside and outside of interviews. The interview questions provided in the book are real examples that have been used time and again to help you be as prepared as possible for basic to expert-level algorithm questions. This book is also hugely helpful for interviewers and organizations to understand what makes a good interview question and hiring process as a whole. 

Author background: 

Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the founder of CareerCup, a consultant (hiring process, interview training), author of four books, and previous developer for Google, MS, and Apple. The author has a mixed business and engineering background with a Wharton MBA and a BSE and MSE in Computer Science. Her books have been translated into four to six foreign languages each.

Quote from this book: 

“Learn how to uncover the hints and hidden details in a question, discover how to break down a problem into manageable chunks, develop techniques to unstick yourself when stuck, learn (or re-learn) core computer science concepts, and practice on 189 interview questions and solutions. These interview questions are real; they are not pulled out of computer science textbooks. They reflect what’s truly being asked at the top companies, so that you can be as prepared as possible.”

3Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

Description: 

Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder is an investigation of real world luck, probability, uncertainty, risk, human error, and decision-making processes in a world that we cannot ever truly understand. This is one book in the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s series, with the others being Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes. This book is all about how to succeed in a world of uncertainty. Nassim highlights how life benefits from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil and that we actually need this kind of disorder to survive. The book is innovative, thought-provoking and will leave you pondering some of the most important questions that exist. It touches on politics, life decisions, urban planning, history, finance, the economy and medical fields, making it applicable and important to any reader. An undertone of philosophical influence is prominent throughout. 

Author background: 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American writer, mathematical statistician, former option trader, risk analyst, and aphorist. His work is centered around problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty. The author received his bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Paris, and holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in management science from the University of Paris (Dauphine). 

Quote from this book: 

“Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility; it results from some ecological or naturalistic wisdom, and is not always bad – at an existential level, it is my body rebelling against its entrapment. It is my soul fighting the Procrustean bed of modernity.”

4Artificial Intelligence Revolution 

Description:

This book is a great choice for anyone who is interested in artificial intelligence and its basic principles. Artificial Intelligence Revolution covers many of the latest artificial intelligence-related ideas and technological developments, while explaining how artificial intelligence will transform human lives forever. The impact of artificial intelligence will not only affect the economy and our financial systems, but also minute details of our personal lives. The book covers many of the latest ideas in artificial intelligence, which range from computational ability to big data sources, setting the basic standards of artificial intelligence in research and intelligent manufacturing. It also touches on an introduction to the “super brain,” deep learning, and L4 automated vehicles. 

Author background: 

Robin Li is a software engineer and billionaire internet entrepreneur. As of March 2022, his net worth was estimated at US$8.5 billion. Robin studied information management at Peking University before pursuing a computer science degree at the University at Buffalo. In 1996, he created RankDex, the first web search engine with page-ranking and site-scoring algorithms, and in 2000, he co-founded Baidu. He has been the CEO of Baidu since January 2004 and has been included as one of the 15 Asian Scientists To Watch by Asian Scientist Magazine on May 15, 2011.

5The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn 

Description: 

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering is a great read that suggests that effective thinking is a skill that can be learned and cultivated over time. This book includes a multitude of fantastic stories about great individuals who have performed impressive and monumental tasks. The author, Richard Hamming, constantly refers to world-famous theories and concepts like Shannon’s information theory, Einstein’s relativity, Grace Hopper’s work on high-level programming, Kaiser’s work on digital fillers, and his own error-correcting codes. The author also shares many of his fantastic failures as clear examples of what to avoid and of how to learn from our mistakes. This book serves as a reminder that we can accomplish anything with an open mind and relentless curiosity. 

Author background: 

Richard Wesley Hamming was an American mathematician whose work had an important impact on both the computer engineering and telecommunications industries. The author was born in Chicago and attended the University of Chicago, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he wrote his doctoral thesis in math. 

Quote from this book: 

“What you learn from others you can use to follow. What you learn for yourself you can use to lead.”

6To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design

Description: 

To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design is a book that emphasizes the importance of design failures and the study of them. It describes and explains some of the most well-known engineering failures, including the problematic DC-10 engine servicing, the Hyatt Skywalk, and the Mianus River Bridge collapse. The author presents the information in an interesting series of case studies and also traces the undeniable connection between mathematics and science to the failures and chaos in our everyday lives. A work of science, history, and leadership, this book is perfect for anyone who is looking to enhance their problem-solving and delve into how to mitigate engineering failures. 

Author background: 

Henry Petroski is an engineer who specializes in failure analysis. He is impressively a professor both of civil engineering and history at Duke University, while also being known as a prolific author. This author has written over a dozen books, beginning with To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design and including a number of titles detailing the industrial design history of common, everyday objects, such as pencils, paper clips, toothpicks, and silverware.

Quote from this book: 

“Failure is central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation. Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail.”

7Engineer to Win

Description: 

Engineer to Win is a book that centers on car racing technology. The author, Carroll Smith, was an expert in the field, and the book includes an in-depth analysis of metallurgy, metal fatigue, and general materials technology. While the book focuses on car racing, it also covers everything related to car racing, including specific components and activities such as heat treatments and stress relieving, as well as concepts such as aerodynamics, ground effects, brakes, tools, and more. If you’re interested in engineering and how the field affects car racing, this is the book for you, written by an individual who practiced what he preached. 

Author background: 

Carroll Smith was a hugely successful professional race car driver, engineer, and author. His books are highly regarded among race car drivers and engineers. The author was a representative of the club racing spirit: learning a craft and bringing together several disciplines in order to participate in a sport that he was truly passionate about.

Quote from this book: 

All failures are human in origin. Poor designs, incorrect manufacture and assembly, unreasonable demands, and negligent maintenance all lead to the dreaded ‘mechanical failure‘.”

8The Design of Everyday Things

Description: 

The Design of Everyday Things is a classic engineering book that has been highly regarded for years. It is about how people think about the products we use, about how we play a part in creating new items, and of course, about the entire design process. The book premises on the fact that impressive, usable, and high-quality designs are possible but that a significant amount of work must be done to ensure that a product is successful. For success, the book suggests making things visible, using natural relationships, and making intelligent use of any constraints that are discovered. The goal of any effective product is to effortlessly guide an individual to engage in the right actions, on the right control, and at the right time. Overall, the author effectively highlights why it is that we feel we can’t live with some products versus why other products seem to be nothing but a frustration to use. 

Author background: 

Donald Arthur Norman is a researcher, professor, and author. Norman is the director of The Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego and is well known for his books on design—especially this book, The Design of Everyday Things. He is an expert in the fields of design, usability engineering, and cognitive science.

Quote from this book: 

“It could forever change how you experience and interact with your physical surroundings, open your eyes to the perversity of bad design and the desirability of good design, and raise your expectations about how things should be designed”

9Engineering Fundamentals: An Introduction to Engineering 

Description: 

Engineering Fundamentals: An Introduction to Engineering is the perfect book for anyone who is interested in studying engineering and needs to start with the basics because it elucidates the fundamental principles of the engineering discipline.  

Specifically designed for people who are interested in studying engineering, this is an excellent introduction written by Saeed Moaveni. It explains the fundamental principles of engineering. The book encourages students to pursue this field of work, while also giving them the necessary preparation in basic principles and physical laws of engineering. Starting with what engineers actually do, their areas of specialization and how to succeed in the field of engineering is included to kick-start anyone’s academic or professional career in engineering. 

Author background: 

Dr. Moaveni joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering program at Minnesota State University (MSU) in 1990. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of New York and has over 35 years of experience in practice, teaching, and research. Before joining MSU, Dr. Moaveni was a faculty member in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Syracuse University. He has served as a graduate program coordinator, department chair, and dean as well as having a successful career as an author. 

Quote from this book: 

“Engineers are problem solvers. Successful engineers possess good communication skills and are team players. They have a good grasp of fundamental physical laws and mathematics. Engineers apply physical and chemical laws and mathematics to design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of millions of products and services… Engineers are dedicated to lifelong learning and service to others.”

10The Soul of A New Machine 

Description: 

The Soul of A New Machine is a story about one company’s efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market and has become an essential read for comprehending the history of the American technology industry. The book sheds light on the crazy pace of high-tech organizations and their go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big or fail quickly. It takes a look at why people are so passionate about technological innovations and how tech opens our minds to a world of unimaginable possibilities. It is a gripping account of employees in the tech industry in the 1970s and captures the excitement that results from new technological creations. This book has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. 

Author background: 

John Tracy Kidder is a writer of nonfiction books. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his The Soul of A New Machine (1981), about the creation of a new computer at Data General Corporation. The author is considered a literary journalist because of the strong story line and personal voice in his writing, which engages his audience as much as it educates and inspires. 

Quote from this book: 

“Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations.”

Parting advice 

We hope that you have enjoyed our guide for the best 10 engineering books that you can read in 2022. It’s always a pleasure having you on the Fellow Blog and we can’t wait to see you next time. Until then, if you found this article insightful or interesting, be sure to share the knowledge with a friend or a colleague!

  • shopfiy
  • uber
  • stanford university
  • survey monkey
  • arkose labs
  • getaround
  • motorola
  • university of michigan
  • webflow
  • gong
  • time doctor
  • top hat
  • global fashion group
  • 2U
  • lemonade
  • solace
  • motive
  • fanatics
  • gamesight
  • Vidyard Logo