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Unread 08-04-2012, 07:15 PM
Ian Curtis Ian Curtis is offline
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Engineering Story Books

Does anyone know of any good books about the engineering process? I'm not talking about textbooks (I have more than enough of those), but stories that follow the development of a product. I recently finished Bill Cook's Road to the 707 and it was spellbinding to see them come up against totally unexpected problems and then figure out how to solve them. Books I've read in a similar vein are Rhode's The Making of the Atomic Bomb or Grosser's Gossamer Odyssey. Technical details are good, but the political details of all of these massive projects are always fascinating too.

I know I can't be the only dork who loves this kind of stuff.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 08:27 PM
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Re: Engineering Story Books

This book is about Lockheed's Skunk Works. It talks about Kelly Johnson and projects such as the SR-71. The book is by Kelly's successor Ben Rich.
Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed by Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos


Before NASA, there was NACA, the Air Force, and the cold war. This book gives a basic storytelling of what was going on before Sputnik and how the X program yielded to NASA and the space race of the 1960's.
The Right Stuff, book and movie by Tom Wolfe
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Unread 08-04-2012, 08:47 PM
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Re: Engineering Story Books

+1 for Skunk Works. I really enjoyed that book.

The Design of Design. by Brooks is fantastic. He covers the various ideas of constraints and applies them to systems he worked on as well as designing his home and vacation home (complete with issues and work arounds).

I will look through the bookshelf and see what else I can find. I really enjoyed biographies of famous inventors and engineers.
The Man Who Made the Monitor was a very powerful book for me in middle school. Jophn Ericsson made giant improvements to Naval warships, steam, and heat engines.

I was also a big fan in middle school of Castle, Cathedral, and the Way Things Work by David Macualay. They are psuedo-historical, but fun books with a lot of neat insight.

The History of PI is a pretty neat math history book.

Last edited by IKE : 08-04-2012 at 09:05 PM. Reason: added a couple books.
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Unread 08-05-2012, 12:32 PM
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Re: Engineering Story Books

Soul of a new machine, a story about the development team working on a (then) unprecedented 32-bit processor.

The New Cool, which chronicles some FRC teams...but you've probably heard of that one.
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Unread 08-06-2012, 09:39 AM
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Re: Engineering Story Books

I am anxiously awaiting "The 7 Minutes of Terror", an indepth look into the years of preparation for the most interesting landing in NASA robotics history.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 01:19 PM
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Re: Engineering Story Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebarker View Post
This book is about Lockheed's Skunk Works. It talks about Kelly Johnson and projects such as the SR-71. The book is by Kelly's successor Ben Rich.
Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed by Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos

I will have to check that out
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:23 AM
JamesBrown JamesBrown is offline
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Re: Engineering Story Books

I would have to add another +1 for ths Skunkworks book.

I would also reccomend Code Name Ginger, it is different than the others listed but is an interesting look behind the scenes of the developmkent of the segway, and anyone with FIRST experience (especially in New England) will recognize quite a few names.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:45 AM
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Re: Engineering Story Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonRotolo View Post
Soul of a new machine, a story about the development team working on a (then) unprecedented 32-bit processor.
I was going to mention this one. Also there's a book about ENIAC

Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer

by Scott McCartney
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Unread 03-23-2013, 07:26 PM
Ian Curtis Ian Curtis is offline
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Re: Engineering Story Books

Some of the stories and insights posted in this thread (The Meaning of FIRST), reminded me of some books I have since read or have been recommended to me that I thought others might enjoy.

The Most Powerful Idea in the World is about the development of the steam engine. While there are some crazy details about how they built them (the first steam engine ran 100 years before the first metalworking lathe!), there is some incredible insight into how our legal and patent systems were built, and how they contributed to development.

Although I haven't read them yet, the following were also recommended to me. The former is really a book about airplane technology development, but the latter speaks a great deal to all the important things we don't teach/learn (at least formally) in college. In my personal view, plugging some of those gaps is a great benefit of FIRST.

What Engineers know and how they know it

Engineering and the Mind's Eye
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