“Stuff you don’t learn in engineering school”


Carl Selinger’s Suggested Reading


The following short list of suggested reading covers non-technical topics important to engineers and is highly selective, eclectic, open-ended and invites additional suggestions.


Understanding yourself


Please Understand Me II – Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David Keirsey, Prometheus Nemesis, 1998, 350 pp. paperback.  The Meyers-Briggs technique, introspective, riveting, expanded from the 1986 classic.


The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris, McGraw-Hill, 1967, 252 pp.  A zoologist’s study of the human animal.  Yep, that’s us!  Know thyself, you animal you!


The Work-Stress Connection by Robert Veninga & James Spradley, Ballantine, 1981, 290 pp. paperback.  One of a zillion self-help books, this helped ME on how to cope with job burnout.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff by Richard Carlson.  G.K. Hall & Co. 1997.  Simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life.  Yup!


Setting goals


If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else by David Campbell, Argus Communications, 1974, 138 pp paperback.  No shortage of books on setting goals; again, this one helped me because I listened!


Getting Things Done by Edwin Bliss, Bantam 1980, 195 pp. paperback.  I have many underlines and highlights in this precious little book.




You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen, Bantam Books 1982, 250 pp. paperback.  Most ANY book on negotiating will be helpful!


Difficult Conversations – How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Viking, 1999, 248 pp hardcover.  Practical advice on how to converse with your boss, your spouse, your friends, your kids, and your clients on difficult subjects.


Getting to Yes by Robert Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project2nd Edition, 1991, Penguin Books, paperback.  A classic of “win-win” negotiations.






Leadership skills


Leadership is an Art by Max DePree, 1987, Doubleday, 136 pp hardcover.  A highly readable, no-nonsense book on leadership skills.


Leadership Lessons from General Ulysses S. Grant by Al Kaltman, 1998, Prentice-Hall, 320 pp. hardcover.  A treasure trove of bite-sized, 1-page vignettes about Gen. Grant’s actions and their relevance and application in today’s world.  Terrific!  I applied the first lesson I read the very next day with great results.  (The irony is that President Grant is held up as displaying incredibly poor leadership skills – go figure!)


Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips, Time-Warner 1992, paperback.  A very practical discussion of how Lincoln applied common-sense leadership skills that are applicable to today’s issues and situations.  Very readable and useful.


Speaking and writing


There are so many good books out there, I wouldn’t know where to begin.



A great book for engineers to read:


A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, Vintage 1996, 495 pp. paperback.  If you only read one book, read this (even if you saw the so-so movie).  It is a true account of drinking water contamination with many engineering and legal issues interwoven in a can’t-put-down read.  You’ll learn a lot and perhaps ignite an interest to read for pleasure.


Also, pick up a newsstand issue of The New Yorker and read anything in it – you’ll be treated to interesting writing.  (And, yes, you can enjoy their famous cartoons too!)



Books others have recommended to me but which I haven’t found interesting.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Simon & Schuster, 1989 paperback.  Has dominated the NY Times Best Seller list for what seems forever, but I can’t get into it despite several tries.


Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts, Warner Books 1987, 110 pp paperback.  Same as previous.  Maybe it’s me!  J


Your suggestions are welcomed – send to me at selinger99@aol.com


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