Applied Minds: How Engineers Think

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9780393239874: Applied Minds: How Engineers Think

A journey inside the minds that build our world.

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.

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About the Author:

Guru Madhavan is a biomedical engineer and senior policy adviser. He conducts research at the National Academy of Sciences and has been named a distinguished young scientist by the World Economic Forum. He lives in Washington, DC.

Review:

"Applied Minds will enlighten you about the minds that transform our lives. It beautifully conveys the true vision of engineering and its impact on nearly every aspect of life and global progress. This book is refreshing, most approachable, and highly recommended for anyone interested in understanding engineering."--C. D. MOTE, Jr., President, National Academy of Engineering

"The engineering mindset is a transformational mindset. In deftly revealing some of its organizing principles, this book reminds us that behind today's global challenges are solutions and opportunities waiting to be realized."-KLAUS SCHWAB,Founder and Executive Chairman,World Economic Forum "Guru Madhavan offers a compelling explanation of the engineering perspective. With potent stories that are heartwarming and at times heartrending, Applied Minds is an enjoyable and instructive read."--VINTON CERF,Chief Internet Evangelist,Google;Presidential Medal of Freedom laureate

"This is a delightfully interesting book and an essential treatise about ingenuity and systems thinking. Be it a mundane problem or a grand social challenge, the engineering frame of mind offers vital insights and inspiration toward better solutions."--RITA COLWELL, U.S. Science Envoy; Former Director of the National Science Foundation; National Medal of Science laureate

"As a scientist, I have come to recognize the unique value that "thinking like an engineer" brings to almost any important endeavor. In Applied Minds, Guru Madhavan skillfully uses stories to illustrate how engineers think, while also explaining how engineering has profoundly improved our lives. Hopefully his new book will help many talented young readers become excited about engineering as a career."--BRUCE ALBERTS, U.S. Science Envoy; President Emeritus, National Academy of Sciences and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Science; National Medal of Science laureate

"Applied Minds is captivating, entertaining, and hugely informative. Want to better understand how and why the engineering mindset is supremely important for everything from technology to human progress? Read this excellent book."--GORDON ENGLAND, Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Deputy Secretary of Defense

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