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Engineering: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) [Paperback]

Natasha McCarthy
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2009 Beginner's Guides
Focusing on the impact of engineering on society and the world, McCarthy details the development of the discipline, explains what makes an engineering mind, and shows how every aspect of our lives has been engineered: from gadgets to our national infrastructure. Long considered tinkerers, problem solvers, and visionaries, engineers hold the keys to our real and virtual future.

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Engineering: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) + Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing + Structures or Why Things Don't Fall down
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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Original edition (1 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851686622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851686629
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"There are a plethora of people for whom this book would probably prove to be a mine of information." (Professional Engineering)


"A fantastic book. Full of stories that can be enjoyed by anybody who is interested in innovation and creativity."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air 3 Nov 2010
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful construction 12 Sep 2010
By Jasper
I knew nothing of engineering when I read this and wasn't sure what I would get from it but I finished by looking at the world differently. It highlighted the moral dilemmas created by the engineering we take for granted and made me think of engineering in a completely different way. Not only has it shed light on what engineers do but it has enabled me to think a little bit like an engineer when I face reality. It is a book about humanity solving some big problems and creating others. And its a quick read!

There is something really nice about the way McCarthy writes. Simple. Clear. To the point. Insightful. Erudite. But never preaching nor condescending. It is as if a wise person is guiding you through places you needed to see but never knew you did.

I thoroughly recommend this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting sociology, technically weak 3 Aug 2012
By The_300
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sure it's an easy and entertaining read. It is mostly about what engineers do from a sociological perspective with little of the inner workings of the problem solving. The specific examples are focused on everyday consumer items such as VCRs and vacuum cleaners (e.g., Dyson). Where it does get technical, it's unreliable. Marie Curie did not discover x-rays (p. 53)--it was Roentgen. In the same passage, it is correct to say that MRI evaluates fat, muscle and other tissue , but half-right to say it is made possible through the quantum mechanical properties of water since: 1) it is the properties of the hydrogen nucleus that generate clinical MRI imagery; and 2) if it were just water, you would not be able to image the fat tissue which the author correctly notes is present in MRI images.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read! 28 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is my second One World Beginners Guides about a subject that I did not know much about and I now feel I have a much better understanding of engineering in everyday life and many other engineering related challenges (in terms of ethics, practices, limitations and future areas of growth). It is not technical at all, easy to read and a good structure of the issues involved in this topic. There are certain books which make one more fulfilled after reading them and this book certainly qualifies in this regard.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 10 July 2014
Good little book.
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