Reviews of Stuff You Don’t Learn in Engineering School


Reviews by periodicals …
"…whether the reader is an enterprising young striver or a highly seasoned professional who has 'been around the block,' one may find some tidbits of real-world wisdom within these pages." (Software Quality Professional, June 2005)

"…is designed to teach these skills and thereby help its readers become effective and proficient in the corporate world." (Electronic Design Online, June 14, 2005)

"…do consider adding this title to your engineering collection…I have mentioned the book in every information resources session I teach in mechanical, chemical, and materials engineering." (

"Pragmatic and thorough, this title seems likely to appeal to its target audience." (E-STREAMS, May 2005)

"...imparts important skills: setting priorities, working in a team, being more effective at meetings, speaking in front of a group, negotiating personal or business issues, dealing with stress, and having more fun in the process." (Mechanical Engineering, February 2005)

"This useful book is a primer-or perhaps a survival guide…imparts useful knowledge in a fairly painless way. Selinger isn't just teaching business skills; he's teaching life skills." (Civil Engineering, February 2005)

Reviews by readers …

Good Advice on 'Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School'” - I recently read a book by Carl Selinger called "Stuff You Don’t Learn in Engineering School: Skills for Success in the Real World."  Selinger, an American Society of Civil Engineers member, wrote the book in 2004.  In his preface he indicates that he has written the book to "give young engineers a practical down-to-earth guide to the real world they are in, a very different place than the strenuous boot camp engineering school."  Selinger organizes the book well, identifying at the onset some critical skills that engineers need, primarily writing, speaking and listening. He provides some good basic down-to-earth examples of how to be a better writer.  These include using clear, simple language, minimizing the use of acronyms, reading more, having peers review your writing, and a device that I sometimes use, just pretend you are talking to someone and write that.  Selinger drives home the point by quoting an engineering manager from DMJM Harris: "Writing and public speaking are the two most important soft skills that engineers need to succeed in the field today."

       Selinger's other chapters focus on decision making, feedback, priority setting, running effective meetings, teamwork, negotiations, creativity, developing leadership skills, dealing with stress, and one that I find to be very important, ethics in the workplace.  He includes as an appendix a survey of various managers on non-technical skills, various concerns with the real world and other issues.  The book also includes a list of professional engineering societies, emphasizing the importance of such associations in career development and providing solid reasons for membership.  "Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School" is a fairly quick read, one that I recommend to all engineers, both young and old.” - Posted by David Mongan, former President of ASCE.

"It is terrific....very valuable for engineers.....well thought out and right on the money." - Neil Senturia, Blackbird Ventures

"What a nice surprise to receive it. I've told several people about the book. It's such a great topic, one which you know I especially appreciate. - Susan de la Vergne,

"Throughout my career, I’ve always said that I’ve been helped a lot by things that I didn’t learn in engineering school. This is especially true of the Dartmouth curriculum for engineers, which requires 5 years, and has a strong liberal arts component. So I planned my speech around the theme of how important it is to be able to do more than technical things. At the same time, I saw your book mentioned in the ASCE newspaper, so I thought that it would make a nice gift to the 150 engineering graduates. I purchased the book through Barnes and Noble (internet, of course). It is a good, useful publication about something that I believe very strongly. I was happy to see that someone has written a book about something that should be a fundamental precept for success in the world of engineering, and I was happy to share it with some young people who will shape the world for the next 40 years." - Tom O'Neill, CEO Parsons Brinckerhoff

"I think that part of what we do as educators, in addition to developing knowledge, skills, and experiences in the curricula, is to equip the students with other useful survival skills. Carl's experiences as reflected in his book are an example of these skills. While the book is written from an engineering perspective, its contents apply across the disciplines. I was so taken by its relevance to the needs of students that I recommended it to the Graduate Honors Program at Baruch. The danger in the book is that may be perceived as relevant only to engineering. This is definitely not the case. It ought, I believe, be done on across all departments and all classes. Perhaps it is my long experience in the business world that accounts for enthusiasm for what Carl has done and can do. My survival kit looks much like Carl's." - James Drogan, Acting Director, Graduate Program in International Transportation Management, SUNY Maritime College

"It was like having my own personal mentor at the tip of my fingers." - Kimberly Gilbert, Track Engineering Manager, SYSTRA Consulting

"I found your book to be perfectly appropriate for this [first job] stage of my life. What a great toolbox for me to start my career with. The examples and tips you give are truly helpful and I plan on keeping it available for referencing at each and every profession that I explore in the future." - Laynie Weaver, National Transit Institute, Rutgers University

"I enjoyed your book and will recommend it highly to everyone I know. You are great encouragement to those in the engineering field." - Darlene Rivera, P.E., Project Manager, Berger Lehman Associates, P.C.

"Those of you who've been following Carl Selinger's monthly "Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School" column on the IEEE Spectrum Careers site will be pleased to learn of his book by the same title. The book covers non-technical "real world" leadership skills like decision-making, setting priorities, negotiating, teamwork, running meetings, and better writing and speaking. We're big fans of Carl's friendly, level-headed approaching to tackling these often confusing topics." - IEEE Canada Newsletter

"The book was very readable and filled with insights. I was particularly fond of the chapters on assertiveness and leadership. The book has an excellent combination of helpful business and social tips, reasons to learn them, and methods to gain these traits for yourself. The book is a powerful tool for newly minted engineers and experienced professional engineers." - Dominick Gatto, P.E.

"Selinger offers a condensed, easy to read synopsis of important skills engineers need to know to succeed in business, such as how to conduct meetings, time management, and decision making. The ideas are given in practical, easy to follow, guidelines, with examples. Good sourcebook for career development." - Mary Gennuso, Computer Specialist, NYC Transit

"Carl Selinger is on target for his efforts and employers owe him a debt as well. Managers benefit because they get a window on what Carl discusses with students when they attend his seminars. As we go through many of the current management fads, folks like Carl seem to understand that it is the "software" (i.e., the people) that make the difference. People skills are extremely important if you expect to survive. Every good project manager I have ever worked with or sharp youngster I have had the privilege of developing "gets it" at this basic level. The organization of the book touches on topics that most engineering schools cannot teach. For those of you with lower grades in engineering school than you would have liked, or those of you who know a recent engineering grad or a soon to be engineering grad, this is the book for you." - Steven Marrano, ATCO