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This page is the original source of this review, though you may also find it on Amazon or other sites.

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Book Review of: A Shortage of Engineers

A Shortage of Engineers is a must-read book.

If you love Dilbert, Office Space, or just plain common sense, this book will appeal to you. It strips away the thin veneer of sanity that hides the dysfunctionality that characterizes large companies, while entertaining with a love story and a rite of passage for a young engineer. Any thinking person will see deep meaning in this book, but the other 90% of the population should view it as a wake up call.

In my past life, I worked on large contracts as an engineer. Grossbach hits resounding chords, again and again. I found myself cheering at some points. At others, I nearly cried. But mostly, I laughed. Out loud. If you’re tired of dealing with politics in the workplace, politics on your kid’s soccer team, or any kind of nonsense, you will find A Shortage of Engineers is more documentary than fiction.

To all you dysfunctional, cut-off-from-reality CEOs out there, you really need to read this book. If only you knew what kind of waste goes on in your organization, how ridiculous it is, and how foolish it makes you look….

This is one of the best books I have ever read! I have a feeling that if everyone read it prior to voting, we’d have a far different legislative landscape. We would not have the IRS, for example. Think about it. The only purpose of the IRS is to give a group of hostile, insane, stupid people a place to go where they can make harassing phone calls and send out threatening letters while running illegal scams and getting a salary. This is presumably cheaper than building asylums for them and hiring people to take care of them. We have a few dozen IRS-inflicted deaths each year, and consider that normal.

As A Shortage of Engineers points out, lunacy is quite normal. The best thing we can do about it is laugh. And A Shortage of Engineers will have you in stitches.


About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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