When I sit down for a read, the last thing I think of is grabbing a civil engineering book even though that’s my full-time job. At first, I was very skeptical of what the contents of these books were, but I soon found out that they could expand my thinking and open my viewpoint to new ways of building.
Engineering is complicated, so sitting down with a good book can help me focus and learn new techniques. Some helped me brush up on structures, while others can help you remember the previous information you read for some exam. Either way, they help you keep your foundations and become stronger in your field.
That said, it can be a bit confusing on where to start. The best books I’ve picked up are ones that don’t usually reference primary material or exam material.
Focusing on foundation, structures, and even advanced techniques like chemical or geotechnical engineering help to open up new career opportunities. Some of the best books are the ones written by professionals in the field.
So, if you’re a bit lost on where to start:
- If you’re currently in school, check out civil engineering textbooks and study guides to help you learn and understand the material.
- If you’ve graduated, ask yourself what type of engineering you’d like to learn about. Civil engineering has multiple advancements that don’t always require a degree. So, finding books with similar interests in career paths can help open new doors to you.
That said, here’s a list of books you should consider reading:
Best Civil Engineering Books
A fascinating read about when bridges were still in beta.
Historian David McCullough wrote one of the most factually accurate and detailed books about the construction of the Panama Canal. Why would such a book interest a leader? Because it shows how a great thing was achieved, and what it took to take the project from the paper and make it a reality.
Great things are never simple and easy to achieve. It takes creativity. Mistakes happen and losses are sustained. You have to rethink your strategy. You need a B, C or even a D plan. You do whatever it takes to make it happen. This is a valuable lesson for any leader and entrepreneur.
It took me 15 days to read all 1,165 pages of this monstrosity that chronicles the rise of Robert Moses. I was 20 years old. It was one of the most magnificent books I’ve ever read. Moses built just about every other major modern construction project in New York City. The public couldn’t stop him, the mayor couldn’t stop him, the governor couldn’t stop him, and only once could the President of the United States stop him. But ultimately, you know where the cliché must take us. Robert Moses was an asshole. He may have had more brain, more drive, more strategy than other men, but he did not have more compassion. And ultimately power turned him into something monstrous.
It's a heart-wrenching but eye-opening look at the safe ways America looks back at slavery and its impact on modern capitalism. During an election cycle focused on populism and anger, this is a book every American should read.