Applied Minds

Applied Minds

How Engineers Think

Book - 2015
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Dubai's Burj Khalifa--the world's tallest building--looks nothing like Microsoft's Office Suite, and digital surround sound doesn't work like a citywide telecommunication grid. Yet these engineering feats have much in common.Applied Minds explores the unique visions and mental tools of engineers to reveal the enormous--and often understated--influence they wield in transforming problems into opportunities. The resulting account pairs the innovators of modern history--Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Steve Jobs--with everything from ATMs and the ZIP code system to the disposable diaper.An engineer himself, Guru Madhavan introduces a flexible intellectual tool kit called modular systems thinking as he explains the discipline's penchant for seeing structure where there is none. The creations that result from this process express the engineer's answers to the fundamental questions of design: usefulness, functionality, reliability, and user friendliness.Through narratives and case studies spanning the brilliant history of engineering, Madhavan shows how the concepts of prototyping, efficiency, reliability, standards, optimization, and feedback are put to use in fields as diverse as transportation, retail, health care, and entertainment.Equal parts personal, practical, and profound, Applied Minds charts a path to a future where we apply strategies borrowed from engineering to create useful and inspired solutions to our most pressing challenges.
Publisher: New York ; London : W.W. Norton & Company, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393239874
Branch Call Number: 620 MADHAVAN
Characteristics: xii, 253 pages ; 22 cm


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Dec 06, 2017

A rather short book, but very well organized: each chapter has its focus (e.g., optimization) and historical examples from various engineering fields are in parts, with the abstract concepts (e.g., emergence; implicit and explicit models) introduced in commenting upon them. There is a lengthy bibliographic essay at the end, but many items would only be found in a university library with an engineering department.

Nov 07, 2015

The author tries hard to make it interesting with lots of examples of how and why engineers invented important things - some that changed the world. Digital camera, GPS, cellphone, mass production of penicillin..... A pretty good story teller. I still found it a slow read. I guess once these things are invented and become commonplace, we all just think oh well isn't that nice. Not exciting like the theory of relativity and what it "might" all lead to someday. The author even lamented that the Nobel's go mostly to the scientists or doctors who discover the idea but rarely to the engineer who makes it work for everyone.


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