While bookstore shelves are filled with books on politics, celebrities, international affairs and more, relatively few books discuss engineers or the process of engineering. In fact, even when the books are available, young engineers find them difficult to read because they can be quite boring. However, just like any other field, reading is vital in honing knowledge and understanding of a particular profession.

 It is important for every engineer or aspiring engineer to find at least one or two books relating to their area of interest. These books not only improve knowledge, but they also have the potential of sparking ideas.
Contrary to what one might think, they are fascinating books relating to engineering that are available. What most engineers do not realize is that literature in general stimulates creativity; it creates new insights and opens one’s mind to endless possibilities.Here are a few books that are suggested for engineers (or aspiring engineers) or those who wish to appreciate the engineering world. It is important to note that books do not necessary have to be nonfiction to inspire and build understanding.

Existential Pleasures of Engineering, Samuel Florman

In Existential Pleasures of Engineering, Samuel Florman explores how engineers think and feel about their profession.  The book gives readers a practical, creative, and often times amusing philosophy of engineering; this book celebrates engineering and the joys that can be derived from the profession.

The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems, Henry Petroski

The Essential Engineer is a profound book that explores the ways in which science and engineering must work together to address the world’s pressing issues. Petroski illustrates that while the scientist may discover these problems, it boils down to the engineer to solve them. The book takes readers inside the research, development, and debates surrounding the most critical challenges of this time while also providing readers with in-depth investigation of the various solutions.

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

The Engineer is Human examines the notions of progress and perfection in the realms of science and finds connections between that and the chaotic realities of everyday life. This book shows with examples that behind every great engineering success, there are trails of often ignored (but frequently spectacular) engineering failures.

The Soul of a New Machine, Tracey Kidder

The Soul of a New Machine is a chronicle of the drama, comedy and excitement of a computer engineering team’s efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. Kidder recounts the experiences of the team as they raced to design the computer under tremendous pressure. The book is essentially a chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century.

Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists,  Ainissa Ramirez

In Save Our Science, Ainissa Ramirez makes a call for a recommitment to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in schools and societies around the world.  The book stresses on the importance of creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills to solve the complex problems of tomorrow.

Unwritten Laws of Engineering: Revised and Updated Edition, W. J. King

This fully revised and updated edition of the 1944 classic, serves as a critical compilation of “house rules,” or a professional code. The book addresses, among other things laws that beginners need to learn to get by as professionals and while relating to other engineers. The book is not just for those who are entering the engineering field but those interested in improving their professional effectiveness.


The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Brave New World,  Aldous Huxley

Remaking the world, Henry Petroski

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void,  Mary Roach

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba , Bryan Mealer

Great Modern Structures: 100 Years of Engineering Genius,  David Littlefield,  Will Jones

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Steven Kotler, Peter H. Diamandis, Arthur Morey

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Walter Isaacson

For engineers who would like to understand the engineering environment in Kenya:

40 years of Engineering Progress in Kenya, Intercontinental Publishers

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