September 22, 2011 AT 4:52 pm

EEBookshelf: The Art of Designing Embedded Systems

This book definately deserves a place pretty high up on any engineers reading/recommendation list.  It’s fun, insightful, and best of all written by a real-world engineer with lots of hard-won, real-world experience and insights, not a dull academic who has never had to mingle with the seething masses of humanity that is Corporate Engineering Inc.  If you’ve ever spent more than a week in the corporate world, you’ll instantly appreciate this book for the endless source of Wow I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that’.  While Ganssle definately has no shortage of opinions on how engineering products and teams should be organised to be as productive and proficient as possible, unlike a lot of other books out there they are backed up by solid research, statistics and experience.  How do you keep superstar programmers happy and coding like superstars?  Keep them programming in small chunks, on little pieces of the system because there is a clear relationship between productivity and complexity or scope, and those studly code warriors are just as dull and lethargic as the lowest performing members of the team when the chunks of work become to big.  To stay productive, stay small, and keep it varied, and Ganssle gives you lots of numbers and research to back it up.

Admittedly, the book is aimed more at people doing engineering for a living, but if you’re studying to become and engineer, seriously thinking about switching over, or just in a rut and wondering how to move thing to the next level in your own job and in the team, this book offer a lot of valuable, practical advice on organizing your projects to avoid many needless obstacles down the road, managing the worldload to avoid mental fatigue and to get the most out of the best people on the team, and how to keep a smile on your face going about it all.

If you’re curious about what being an engineer in the real world is like, grab this.  If you want to be a better engineer yourself, grab it to.  If you want to work better as a team, buy a copy for every member on it.  I haven’t had as much fun, or appreciated a book for it’s practical, immediately applicable recommendations in ages, and I find myself recommended it to everyone I know who takes real pride in their work and genuinely wants to be the best engineer they can, and not just doing things good enough to keep getting paid.

Author: Jack Ganssle
ISBN: 0750686448
Publisher: Newnes (these guys are the rock starts of the EE publishing world)
Target Audience: Dilbert (Kind of aimed at professional engineers, but only so you really appreciate the jabs at marketing, product managers, middle-management, etc.)


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1 Comment

  1. I have Jack’s 1st edition (1992!) The Art of Programming Embedded Systems, and it’s scary how much has *not* changed in the last 20 years. If it weren’t for him mentioning things like the 80186, you’d never know the book wasn’t fairly recent. Scary.

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