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O’Brien Recommends Books Every Engineer Should Read

As a discipline with many branches and specializations, engineering inspires countless books and treatises. These works are a mixture of fiction and nonfiction that explore the past, present, and future of engineering. By exposing ourselves to different ways of thinking and problem solving and taking the time to understand project failures and success we can improve the entire engineering industry. 

O’Brien Engineering Recommends these 10 Books

Interesting Engineering released an article recommending 30 must read books for engineers. 

Below is a list of 10 books we think everyone in the civil engineering profession should take the time to read. Some of these titles appear in the Interesting Engineering article while others do not. We think reading and understanding the concepts in the following books creates better engineers. 

  1. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
  2. To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design by Henry Petroski
  3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  4. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
  5. Engineering in the Ancient World, Revised Edition by J.G. Landels
  6. Engineering Legends: Great American Civil Engineers by Richard Weingardt
  7. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
  8. Structures: or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by JE Gordon
  9. Circles in the Sky: The Life and Times of George Ferris by Graham Sommer and Ray Roddy
  10. The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering by David P. Billington

The Importance of Reading 

O’Brien Engineering stresses the importance of reading both personally and professionally. Two of the five core foundations of our firm are continuous improvement and competence. By investing in our team, we can provide better service to our clients. 

One of the biggest benefits of reading professionally is being prepared for situations you have yet to experience. With a base knowledge of similar situations engineers make more accurate predictions and do not start at the beginning of every problem. Instead of trial by error, they can look at a new situation with some knowledge of what to do next. Take some time this week to better yourself by diving into a good book.