Top Books every Mechanical Engineer must read!

a list of recommended books that would inspire engineering students, in-general and mechanical engineering students, in particular.


Top Books every mechanical engineer must read!

Books inspire people. For an engineer certain books bring out the potential in them, inspire to design the future. Innovations come from inspirations and that’s exactly what knowledge and creativity gives from certain books.

The top books I would recommend for a mechanical engineering student would be classified as inspiring books and pure theoretical and knowledge ones.


Lets start with few inspiring books,


The Design of Everyday Things

by Donald A. Norman

The book will make you question everything from pots, doors or sophisticated programs. A game changer on how you look at objects. You’ll think of the book when you play with a ball, fumble a light switch or write with a pen. You’ll see beyond everything and think of it on your everyday life.



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Rocket Boy

by Homer Hickam’s

It is mostly a true story about Homer Hickam, Jr. and his rocket building club. He grew up in a mining town in which the only job choice was to become a miner. His mother wanted to ensure he got out of the town and encouraged him to build rockets as a means of proving to his father that he was smart enough to go to college.
The book suits for students and book lovers alike. Engaging, Interesting, it has a bit of history, a bit of family stories, teenage love stories, friendships, childhood adventure and the language is not too “techy” so as not to lose the interest of those that don't want a "techy or science" book but need to read it for Physics class. The movie October sky is based on it. A must watch atleast with the NASA trainer Homer hickman and his inspiring story.



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The evolution of useful things

by Henry Petroski

Very interesting account of how every day items began and evolved. From the development of the paper to the remarkable changes to the telephone. Every so-called invention is actually an improvement on an earlier design and/or a synthesis of multiple design components into a new combination. The examples are simple to understand. The material was interesting and presented in an entertaining way.  


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Now for theoretical books for knowledge in the mechanical field,

Materials Science and Engineering

by W. D. Callister and D. G. Rethwisch

Being a mechanical engineer, the knowledge in material science is vital in many aspects. If you are a design engineer, good knowledge in material properties and their behaviour is essential. A book known for material science and metallurgy. Every fundamental is covered with proper description of the same. Build a base in material science from this. Conceptual understanding of different topics such as spectroscopy, structural materials, ceramics etc. This book has already proved its metal in the world. It incorporates many features such as. The content in this book is based on what is taught in most Indian and South Asian Universities. Proper discussions on metals, ceramics and polymers. Concept check questions that test conceptual understanding. Numerous examples throughout the chapters that show how the material is applied in the real world.




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Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design

by R. Budynas and K. Nisbett

Every mechanical engineer would know how important it is to have a good handbook in designing. This is the standard machine design handbook for mechanical engineers for over past decade and it's probably the best for machine designing. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design is intended for students beginning the study of mechanical engineering design. The text inherently directs them into familiarity with both the basics of design decisions and the standards of industrial components and also combines the straightforward focus on fundamentals that instructors have come to expect, with a importance to design and its applications. 

This book covers a huge range of topics which will be useful to everyone from mechanical engineering students to engineering professionals. It doesn't have as many examples as some other engineering design books, but it makes up for this in its quality of content. This has a potential to be used as a reference at every mechanical engineer’s shelf.



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Elements of Mechanical Engineering

by Dr. J K Kittur and Prof. G D Gokak

This book has a step-by-step approach to help students understand and draw sketches through exhaustive descriptions using sketches and photographs. Provides solutions to problems using common equations. It has a content of problems solved with help of sketches.


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Basic and Applied Thermodynamics

by P.K. Nag’s

Build the basics in thermos from here. Get the best conceptual understanding from the zeroth law to the heat cycles. Problems are the things you’ll find the most here. Solve them and you’ve mastered the subject. Nag is highly recommended if you have interest for advanced problematic learning which will help you solve the hardest of problems along with proper conceptual understanding. Continue your thermos studies with following up on HMT, gas dynamics. With basic of nag, it’ll be a cake walk.



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For those who aspire to be the brightest for theory, even if you are an innovator and don’t follow marks, just try covering up portions of the below book, and you will know where you stand among the crowd.

*(Indians will benefit the most)

Solved GATE papers!

Find the most important of formulas, steps to solve them and find what you actually were to learn these 4 years of engineering. All the important areas and concepts would be covered and you’ll find where you’ll use them in life. Recommend solving at least 12 years of gate paper. It’ll help you for final viva and you’ll know the concepts really good.

A must keeps for reference

A Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering (an oxford Reference)

Anyone interested to know mechanical engineering related words, grab this dictionary asap.

It provides explanations and the definitions for mechanical engineering terms in the core areas of design, stress analysis, dynamics and vibrations, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. Topics covered include heat transfer, combustion, control, lubrication, robotics, instrumentation, and measurement. Where relevant, the dictionary also touches on related subject areas such as acoustics, bioengineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, aeronautical engineering, environmental engineering, and materials science.

They have long definitions but its worth a keep for reference.




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