An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

I finished An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management today. This is the girst time I’ll be writng one of these reviews so the format and quality are likely to be lacking, but here goes.

Right off thr bat I want to commend the quality of the printing. This is published by Stripe Press and like their other hard cover books this one feels wonderful in the hand. The cover is made with a letter pressed title and the fabric has a nice texture. The paper is surprisingly heavy stock. This lends a real weight to the book as an entity but also each page is satisfying to turn in its own right. The print is exceptional. There were no printing errors in my copy and the binding stayed firm the entire time.

The content though is of course the primary concern for a book review. To that end this book did provide some great insights for me, a non-manager. There were discussions of hiring process improvements and ways to view performance review cycle that I had not considered. As I just finished the book I haven’t yet had time to synthesize much on how to apply all the concepts and some of the topics dedicated to upper management do not have much immediate use. But, the suggestion to use systems thinking was really interesting. Reading this book alone is not enough to actually know how to do so, but I like the general idea of thinking through planning and problems from a stocks and flows perspective. I hope to pick up a few of the suggested reading materials to dive deeper in the future.

Before ending this, I do want to call out that for all the quality put into the published physical item the editing is quite sloppy. There are plenty of typos, duplicated phrases, and even a few places where it seems a bullet point got truncated. That should not prevent you from checking out this volume but do be prepared for the copy to not be able to cash the check the book is writing always.