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Unwritten Laws of Engineering: Revised and Updated Edition Revised Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0791801628
ISBN-10: 0791801624
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 69 pages
  • Publisher: American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Revised edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791801624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791801628
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Krot on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
This 60 page pamphlet was originally written in 1944 and re-published in 2001 with minor edits. I am surprised this is the first review, so I will make it longer. It is a gem of practical advice on how to succeed in an engineering organization as an engineer and manager. It should be a must read for everyone in this field. It is amazing how relevant all the advice from 1944 is still today. People don't change! The book was probably written by a mechanical engineer, but was 100% relevant to me - a software engineer and will likely be equally relevant to other cubical dwellers with engineering degrees and their managers.

The language style of the book was preserved from 40s edition and makes the book even more entertaining to read, but I do take its advice seriously. The advice in the book is very simple and aimed at helping novices adapt to engineering environment faster. Good refresher for everyone though.

The advice is related to how to communicate with manager, co-workers and, in general, how to behave to succeed in an engineering organization without sacrificing your principals. It emphasizes that your communication skills are more important than any technical skills you have. Simple things like "strive to be concise" (I wish I was in this review), "be careful of accuracy of your statements", "don't invade domain of another department without consent or fire may erupt", "cultivate the habit of seeking people's opinions", "promises, schedules and estimates are necessary", "show interest in what your employees are doing", " do all you can to protect the personal interests of your subordinates and their families", and my favorite: "do all you can to see that your subordinates get all the salary to which they are entitled". :) There is actually more stuff for managers in this pamphlet, but, as it correctly notes, every aspiring engineer will, over time, have some managerial tasks. All in all, a great quick read to keep you on your game.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in 1990 when I started my Engineering career. I purchased copies of it for the engineers in my department at the time and have always remembered it's advice. I have re-read it several times and and count this little book as one of my most valuable posessions. I still have my original, beaten and worn.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone working professional that is in a company big enough to have seperate job functions (or departments, if you like) can benefit tremendously from this book. It might as well be titled, "Unwritten Laws of Working with Other Adults to Accomplish Work and Achieve Personal Success". Of course, that might not fit so easily on such a small front cover.

I stumbled upon this book about 3 years into my first job as an engineer at a large corporation. Immediately I wished I had found it the day I first started. All of the principles in this book are clear, concise, and make perfect sense to implement. I feel like my attitude towards what I'm being asked to do at work has improved tremendously, and I don't think it was bad to begin with. It's like I finally "get it", and I can spot my co-workers who still do not.

What do you do when you're being asked to work on something beneath your abilities?
What is the single greatest attribute of a new professional?
How do you handle being asked to do something by another department?
How do you handle enlisting another department to peform work for your projects? Or, how do you handle a project that affects another department's function or domain?

All of these questions are answered and more.

It seems amazing that a book written so long ago by some engineer in a different field, different company, and different job could hit the nail on the head so precisely. If someone had told me this book was written in present day by one of my co-workers, I would have believed them. I have since read this book once a year, because I firmly believe it is the key to success. I think it should be handed out to every college grad who will be going to work for others.
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Inventor and engineer James Skakoon has done the profession of engineering a great service by delivering some immutable codes of the engineering profession. Somewhere in this book, the naked truth is mentioned - a number of empirical studies of on-the-job excellence have clearly and repeatedly established that communication, interpersonal skills etc play a larger role in superior job performance than just being a scholar in technical details. Yet, most of the university and school emphasis is precisely in the latter area.

This book bridges the gap by offering a glimpse at the "soft" skills', gathered from engineering experience. The rules are not wordy and there certainly are no page length case studies with each. But the short, clear statements will at least make you cognizant of these interpersonal relationships and personal codes when carrying out day to day engineering decisions at the office. The book is also well suited for executives, who often forget that it is important to deal with subordinates in the "right" manner, regardless of distinct management styles. When the going gets tough, yes you may have to be a headache to everyone in the office but there needs to be a line that you cannot cross.

I feel this is a golden book that must be used from time to time, not just read once and stuffed away in a drawer somewhere for dust to collect.
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