The opening line of the Preface of this splendid little book reads "What is an engineer? What comes to mind when imagining an engineer?". A most pertinent question. Many, of course, would give an answer relating to washing machine repair or car maintenance; others might suggest a relationship with science - or should that be applied science? I suspect that a lot of people asked who do they think design and manufacture mobile phones, televisions, laptops and so on would likely not say "engineers" - but probably "the Chinese". And as for bridges, buildings, food and medicines, Bugatti Veyrons, roads, fresh water, sewage processors, aircraft, wind turbines - the list is endless - there would be lots of shoulder shrugs.
Engineering: A Beginner's Guide cuts through all the doubt, misunderstanding and ignorance to reveal the real nature of the engineer and engineering and provide the truth that so many do not appreciate - that engineering pervades all aspects of society and of our daily lives. For "Beginner's Guide" read "People's Guide" for this is a beautifully written book that should be compulsory reading for everyone. And if not all members of society, then certainly politicians, those working in the media, teachers, parents, young people - so perhaps everyone after all. It is certainly the case that in the UK and the US and probably elsewhere, the lack of awareness of the substantial contribution that engineering makes and will make in solving the most important global challenges that we face now and in the future is preventing sufficient of those with the greatest ability to engage at all levels of engineering practice - from Professional Engineers to Engineering Technicians.
This is a really good read for those without any knowledge of the subject, but also in providing context for those with an awareness of perhaps just part of the rich spectrum of engineering activity. It also provides a real 'feel good factor' for those like me who have been steeped in engineering for most of their careers. There is something for everyone - the history and evolution of engineering; engineering's place in society; the approaches to engineering; and the distinction and relationship between engineering and science.
A much recommended book!