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