Unwritten Laws of Engineering

The Unwritten LAWS OF ENGINEERING (New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1944)

This is a wonderful little 49-page book that offers timeless principles to support the pursuits of engineers and engineering managers. 

It should be required reading for all students studying engineering, especially before they head out to work as interns.

Here’s the basic three-part outline:

  1. What the Beginner Needs to Learn at Once
    1. In Relation To His Work
    2. In Relation To The Boss
    3. Regarding Relations With Associates and Outsiders
  2. Relating Chiefly to Engineering Executives
    1. Individual Behavior and Technique
    2. Handling Design and Development Projects
    3. Notes Respecting Organization
    4. What Every Executive Owes His Men
  3. Purely Personal Considerations for Engineers
    1. “Laws” of Character and Personality

In some ways, this book reminds me of another favorite of mine, Dale Carnegie’s, How To Win Friends and Influence People.

If you choose the 1944 version like I did, be prepared to look past its position that engineering is “essentially a gentleman’s profession”.

You’ll also want to ignore a few other topics which are also not in tune with today’s societal and workplace norms. Never-the-less, it’s still a valuable read and worth having in your personal library.

Note: The contents of this book are available on the Internet in myriad forms. The book displayed in the picture is an original 1944 copy that I purchased used from Amazon. Updated versions are also available.

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