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16 Best Business Books Every Engineer Needs To Read

Business and engineering go hand in hand in these excellent business books

Business and engineering are very different sectors that go hand in hand. Unfortunately, many universities segregate sectors into separate degrees, meaning engineers have little to no opportunity to learn about business and engineering.

Reading business books focused on engineering is a great way to differentiate yourself and diversify your skills. For instance, knowing the limitations that business imposes on engineering is important when working on projects.

That’s why we reached out to engineers about which business books they recommend for engineers. The result is that these relevant business books are approachable for engineers and students, and teach the most important lessons in business.

This contribution was made by Melanie Musson from MobileHomeInsuranceQuotes

Sam By Jonathan Waldman

This is a story about how two engineers founded a business that has turned into a revolution. Instead of planning the next project in a typical business fashion, they figured out what would make their industry safer and more efficient – a robot – and set to work designing and improving working models. Their story is an inspiring take on business and how you can succeed in it.

This contribution was made by Shayne Sherman from TechLoris

The 4 Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss

Strange as it is, in this cookbook, Ferriss breaks down the process of cooking into manageable bites (pun intended) that are easy for those with an engineer’s mind to consume and understand. What’s more, is that this process and Ferriss explains it, can apply to nearly any subject. I applied this concept to business, a completely foreign concept to me when I moved from the engineer role to the C-suite offices.

This contribution was made by David LaVine from RocLogic Marketing, LLC

Ten-Day MBA 4th Ed., The by Steven A Silbiger

Because as an engineer, you like to understand the scope of what you’re considering getting yourself into. The business world is broad. This book provides an overview of the different areas of focus within business: finance, marketing, operations, etc. When you’re reading through the different topics, you’ll get a sense of the areas that you gravitate towards, and the areas you’re averse to. Circle the top two or three that you really like, and cross off the ones you don’t. Now you’ve got both a sense of the scope of what’s out there, as well as which more specific areas of business you want to dive in deeper.

This contribution was made by Tim Christ from LeadFire Business Consulting LLC

Becoming a World-Class Expert by Timothy D. Christ

This author has 20 years’ experience in the engineering business, turning around two engineering companies that were losing money and made them profitable again, building 5 different engineering business units from scratch into multi-million dollar entities, and consulting with several additional engineering firms. This book details those experiences and how to develop engineers into world-class experts. Several of the engineers discussed in the book doubled, tripled, or quadrupled their annual income in the time of working with the author.

This contribution was made by Majid Fareed from James Bond Suits

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

If you are an engineer or related to any field, you always want to read about business, but it becomes tough to read business books because of an unrelated field. So this book is the answer for you must read it. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’s title is enough to explain what this book is about.

This contribution was made by Osama from Outfitrs

Engineers’ Practical Databook by Jay Smith

It seems to contain a lot of the really good equations, tables, and figures that the FE Reference Handbook has, while trimming out a lot of the fat (engineering economy and ethics, environmental and chemical engineering, etc). The result is a nice, small book that’s easy to tote around, but has everything you need for any back-of-the-napkin calculation you might need to do.

This contribution was made by Ali Ubaid Ul Hassan from decrum

The Design of everyday things by Donald A. Norman

This is the awesome book I highly recommend this book to all those who are part of designing or in the field of engineering. After reading this book you will feel all the man-made things are the same and you always ask a question for any man-made things.

This contribution was made by Ali from Film Jackets

How Successful Engineers Become Great Business Leaders by Paul W.P.

This book offers advice on how an engineer can become a business leader and achieve goals. This book gives ideas on how to maximize your chances using basic skills and previous experience. A guide for every individual with an engineering background.

This contribution was made by Joe Flanagan from Tacuna Systems

The existential pleasures of engineering by Samuel C. Florman

This book explores serves to explain what comes with being an engineer. It explores the passion, the way of thinking, the pride, and other workings of the mind of engineers, while busting myths about the profession. The book also emphasizes the importance of engineers and their invaluable contribution to our everyday lives.

This contribution was made by M. Ammar Shahid from SuperHeroCorp

Business Fundamental for Engineering Managers by C.M. Chang

Engineers are technical-minded people and have little know-how of doing business. This book will familiarize the engineers with the business fundamentals that will make them able to understand the market then make an efficient business plan and strategy accordingly.

This contribution was made by Chad Mills from ChadMills

Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Don Clifton

Most of the feedback you will receive in your career will be focused on how to improve your weaknesses. Iterating and improving is something engineers are expected to do every day, both on the products they’re building and on themselves. Rather than improving your weaknesses, though, you will be much better off finding roles that play to your strengths and developing in these areas that come most naturally. Sometimes a weakness, such as communication, may get in the way of enabling you to fully utilize your strengths and thus improving it makes sense. But much of what you’ve heard about improvement and growth is wrong, and this book will help you find a path that will make you as effective and impactful as you can be.

This contribution was made by Chad Mills from ChadMills

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson

Communication is one of the hardest aspects of professional life for an engineer, and one that they don’t teach in school. Well, they do teach it but most engineers look down on those studying it. When you realize how important it is for everyone in their daily life, you’ll probably want some resources to improve in this area. There are more general books about communication, but this gets at the heart of the aspect I’ve seen engineers struggle with most: recognizing when a debate about the technical merits of an idea has evolved into a conversation where someone is feeling threatened and it’s getting personal. This helps readers identify these situations and manage them more effectively when they occur.

This contribution was made by Chad Mills from ChadMills

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

Engineers are not taught in school how to understand and relate to one another. It’s an enormously valuable skill. The people I’ve seen grow their careers most rapidly tend to have a relentless focus on what problem is being solved for customers, a strong work ethic, and the ability to execute on ideas in a team setting beyond their own work. The first two are straightforward to learn. The third is hard. This book can help you solve that problem.

This contribution was made by Chad Mills from ChadMills

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

This is written for managers, but it’s great for everyone and especially relevant for engineers who tend to be more likely than most to recognize and talk about uncomfortable truths. This book is about giving and receiving feedback, and creating a culture where people are respected so that this feedback can be heard and acted upon. It can be used to give feedback to colleagues, and perhaps more importantly to a non-manager engineer, to frame discussions productively when receiving feedback. It may even encourage you to ask for feedback more. If you want to get better, this book will help you.

This contribution was made by Norhanie Pangulima from SIA Enterprises

Engineer to Win by Carroll Smith

In his highly acclaimed book, Carroll Smith explains what an auto racer needs to know about materials and technology and what to use and how to use it so it won’t break. Engineer to win is the third book by Carroll Smith’s To Win series. This book covers all current state-of-the-art race car technology including aerodynamics and brakes, tools that they used to win races. After reading this book, you will learn that achieving the best results will go along way. Perseverance and creative thinking are the main key points to keep in mind after reading this book. “Planning, evaluation, reasoning and establishing priorities are all more important than brilliance – either behind the wheel or at the drawing board.”

This contribution was made by Norhanie Pangulima from Centriq

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Every discoverable fact about how Steve Jobs was narrated in this book by his co-workers. And Steve Jobs’s many achievements are told in detail, and although they are well-known like the Macintosh, Pixar, the iMac, the iPhone, the iPad. Isaacson’s book is filled with moments that make you go wow and aha. This book sheds light on the attitude of Steve Jobs as he is faced with a lot of setbacks and failures but still rises from the ashes. After reading this book you will have an outlook on the life of Steve Jobs and how it may influence you as an engineer and how you may apply what you’ve read in your own life.

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Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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