Applied Minds: How Engineers Think
A journey inside the minds that build our world.
Dubai's Burj Khalifaâthe worldâs tallest buildingâlooks nothing like Microsoftâs Office Suite, and digital surround sound doesnât 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 enormousâand often understatedâinfluence they wield in transforming problems into opportunities. The resulting account pairs the innovators of modern historyâThomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Steve Jobsâwith 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.