Design Engineering Books

Design engineering always positions technical solutions within a context.  The following books teach us about design process and about the various social, political, historical, and legal contexts that shape and are shaped by engineering design.  We recommend them for an introduction to the field of design engineering and design process as well as for the pleasure of discovery!

Philosophy and engineering: reflections on practice, principles, and process, by Diane Michelfelder, Natasha McCarthy, and David E. Goldberg (eds.)

What Engineers Know and How They Know It:  Analytical Studies from Aeronautical History, by Walter Vincenti

Designing Engineers, by Louis Bucciarelli

Engineering Philosophy, by Louis Bucciarelli

On Design: A Philosophy of Design and Engineering, by M.G. (Ron) Britton

The Existential Pleasures of Engineering, by Samuel Florman

Design Paradigms:  Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering, by Henry Petroski

To Engineer is Human:  The Role of Failure in Successful Design, by Henry Petroski

Engineering and the Mind’s Eye, by Eugene Ferguson

Inviting Disaster:  Lessons from the Edge of Technology, by James R. Chiles

Blaming Technology:  The Irrational Search for Scapegoats, by Samuel Florman

Lessons amid the Rubble: An Introduction to Post-Disaster Engineering and Ethics, by Sarah K.A. Pfatteicher

Learning from Disaster: Risk Management after Bhopal, by Sheila Jasanoff (ed.)

Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders, by Kim Fortun 

Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective, by J. Samuel Walker

The Nature of Technology, by W. Brian Arthur

Applied Minds:  How Engineers Think, by Guru Madhavan

Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer & Shelby J. Davidson, by Rayvon Fouche 

Making Technology Masculine: Men, Women, and Modern Machines in America, 1870-1945, by Ruth Oldenzeil 

Revolt of the engineers: social responsibility and the American engineering profession, by Edwin Layton

Engineering and Social Justice in the University and Beyond, by Caroline Baillie, Alice Pawley, and Donna Riley (eds.)

Engineering play: a cultural history of children’s software, by Mizuko Ito

Two bits: the cultural significance of software, by Christopher Kelty

Building the American Highway System: Engineers as Policymakers, by Bruce Seely

Sex, Bombs & Burgers:  How War, Porn, and Fast Food Created Technology as we know it, by Peter Nowak

Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America, by Matthew Wisnioski

Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, & American Counterculture, edited by David Kaiser & W. Patrick McCray