×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Introspective Engineer
     

The Introspective Engineer

by Samuel C. Florman
 

See All Formats & Editions

The profession of engineering is rarely the topic of serious public discussion. Multimedia, virtual reality, information superhighway-these are the buzzwords of the day. But real engineers, the people who conceive of computers and oversee their manufacture, the people who design and build information systems, cars, bridges, and airplanes, labor in obscurity. There

Overview

The profession of engineering is rarely the topic of serious public discussion. Multimedia, virtual reality, information superhighway-these are the buzzwords of the day. But real engineers, the people who conceive of computers and oversee their manufacture, the people who design and build information systems, cars, bridges, and airplanes, labor in obscurity. There are no engineering heroes, and we as a society are poorer for this.

Like Florman's landmark book, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering, The Introspective Engineer is a clarion call to society. We must awaken to the reality that the quality of human life depends on increasingly creative technological solutions to the problems we face. We need cleaner, more economical engines, faster computers, more power, and a healthier planet if we are to survive. It is engineers who will lead us to this future.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An urbane, witty intellectually far-ranging, large-spirited hymn to homo faber." —The Wall Street Journal

"Gracefully written...refreshing and highly infectious enthusiasm...imaginatively engineered." —The New York Times Book Review

"An engaging short book that is accessible, and frequently enchanting, to the nonspecialist reader." —The New Yorker

"Ought to be on the required-reading lists of engineering schools, for students, faculty, and alumni." —Engineering Education

Booknews
Florman (a New York City civil engineer) departs from the stereotypical image of a socially maladjusted engineer, suggesting that engineering is central to society, but woefully unsung. After all, who conceives the computers, the information systems, cars, airplanes, and bridges on which we rely? In this series of essays, Florman responds to our culture's demands for creative technological solutions and weaves this into the moral and social problems that fit within the constraints of time, materials, and money--the engineer's challenges. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
More soothing technological reassurances from writer-engineer Florman (Blaming Technology, 1981, etc.), here maintaining that we need more and better technological "fixes," not fewer, and pleading for more engineers to become involved in running things.

What the world needs most, Florman begins, is affordable energy sources, new materials, ample food and water, and a clean environment. Technology can help provide these. But since the quality of our lives depends on the quality of our engineering, we need to attract the best and brightest people into the profession. Nor must we allow technology to rush blindly ahead, Florman continues; we should avoid bleak modernity (as exemplified, apparently, by Star Trek—probably the oddest brickbat it's received), reject cultural homogenization, protect the environment, and resist recriminations for past errors. All well and good, though could not this last proposition be wielded by the unscrupulous to evade responsibility? Elsewhere, Florman rightly points out that many of our technological success stories are described as "science"; somehow, this becomes "engineering" only when things go wrong: Witness the entire NASA space program. Florman argues persuasively that in order for engineering and technology to be applied more effectively to the problems that beset the world, political perceptions and public awareness must improve dramatically. When discussing his fellow engineers, Florman is brutally honest but far less reassuring. He admits that engineers are often overly meticulous, lack political savvy and professional pride, and tend to be a humorless bunch; the few engineers to hold prominent public offices—Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter, John Sununu—were not successes.

Thus his contention that more engineers should involve themselves in political processes and policy discussions, unfortunately, self-destructs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312151522
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.66(d)

Meet the Author

Samuel C. Florman, a civil engineer, is a principal in a major New York-area construction company. In addition to scores of articles, Mr. Florman has written The Civilized Engineer, Blaming Technology, and his classic, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering. He lives outside New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews