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Beach Reading List?

  • 1.  Beach Reading List?

    Posted 06-21-2018 02:43 PM

    The weekend is almost here! Many of us are planning on spending some time on the beach. Will you be packing a book? Maybe something about leadership, professional development or discipline-related technical issues? Or will you be trying to relax with your favorite romance novel, horror book or biography?

    What is on your beach reading list this summer?

    Tirza Austin Aff.M.ASCE
    Collaborate Coordinator
    Reston VA
    (703)791-2794 EXT 1

  • 2.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 06-22-2018 09:43 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 06-22-2018 09:42 AM
    My recent life long learning read was Bureaucracy by James Q. Wilson and for fun I'm rereading Eifelheim by Michael Flynn.

    Herbert Raybourn P.E., M.ASCE
    Manager, Environmental Permitting Department
    Walt Disney World Resort
    Lake Buena Vista FL

  • 3.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 06-22-2018 11:45 AM
    I think that David McCullough's The Great Bridge is a good read.  The story tells about civil engineers that designed suspension bridges as the astronauts of the day.  Much of the suspension bridge design was theory in the pre-Civil War era when the Brooklyn Bridge was build.  The bridge has long been considered one of the Wonders of the World.  The book is not just about the bridge, but gives you a look into the world of the day.  It chronicles the corruption in Tammany Hall in NYC that involved Boss Tweed.  Politics hasn't changed very much from then.  It took a $50,000 bribe to get the project approved.  The book is also filled with pictures of Manhattan during construction.  You also learn about the Roebling Family that was involved in the design and construction of the bridge.  The family made cables, so suspension bridges were a good use of those cables.  In fact, the Roebling Family supplied the cables for another iconic structure, the Golden Gate Bridge.

    David McCullough was honored by ASCE for this work.  He is not an engineer, but has written other books that have been well received, e.g. John Adams, 1776 and The Wright Brothers.  If you want another engineering book, he also wrote The Path Between the Seas, about the Panama Canal.
    Hope you get to read all of these books.

    Robert Lee P.E., M.ASCE

  • 4.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 06-22-2018 12:07 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 06-22-2018 12:06 PM

    Robert, If you enjoyed McCullough's The Great Bridge you might try Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge by Erica Wagner, a recent publication.

    I picked up the, The End of Membership as We Know It: Building the Fortune-Flipping, Must-Have Association of the Next Century, by Sarah Sladek, as it was recommended by Kristina Swallow (ASCE president) in Civil Engineering Magazine.  This led me to Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations and Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations both by Coerver and Byers.  All great reads for leaders of volunteer organizations. 

    For my own "enjoyment" I am into volume 4 (The Hinge of Fate) of 6 of Churchill's The Second World War.  I highly recommend to all Churchill and WWII buffs. 
    Note it is a challenge.

    Michael Buechter P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
    Program Manager
    Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
    Webster Grvs MO
    (314) 968-9723

  • 5.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 06-25-2018 02:37 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 06-25-2018 02:37 PM
    ​I am planning to read To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design by Henry Petroski.

    Raymond Hill P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer III
    Highlands Ranch CO

  • 6.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 06-26-2018 04:07 PM

    I recommend Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom! Light enough for beach reading, inspiring for transportation professionals at any career stage. A great variety of career and life journeys documented in this book.

    Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories




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    Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories


    Stories have power, but only if people know them. "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories" details the rise of 18 pioneering women in transportation by telling their stories in their words. From the woman who ran the Federal Aviation Adminis...


    View this on Amazon >


    Heather Riebeling P.E., M.ASCE
    Project Engineer
    Philadelphia PA
    (215) 789-2079

  • 7.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 07-08-2018 09:03 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 07-08-2018 09:03 AM
    ​No doubt McCullough is a great story teller, note his degree was in English not History.  But I do not hear much any more about the book that launched his career, The Johnstown Flood.  A story of a preventable disaster in Gilded Age America, of wealth and divide between rich and poor.  Of an earth dam hastily rebuilt to serve just a few.  Surely many lessons for contemporary America.  The book is 50 years old this year.  If you are a McCullough fan and have not read The Johnstown Flood I would respectfully suggest you add that to your summer reading.

    Michael Buechter P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
    Program Manager
    Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
    Webster Groves MO
    (314) 968-9723

  • 8.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 07-06-2018 10:09 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 07-06-2018 10:09 AM
    I tend to read random chapters of several books on ancient civilizations - especially those within the "fertile crescent." I am always amazed how capable people were at the dawn of civilization - back as far as 5000 years ago. This is not only in building structures, harnessing water and other natural resources, law and political organization, but trade and cordial interaction with other communities. All of this was severely impacted by brutal destruction by others wanting what another had developed.

    James Worrell
    Mostly Retired Heavy Lift Engineer
    PE, RLS (retired)
    Raleigh NC

  • 9.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 07-09-2018 04:50 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 07-09-2018 04:50 PM

    I have an interest in ancient civilizations, religions and most of all inter-lapping between them.
    My specific interest is the origin of the Sumerians who lived some 5,000 years ago in the Mesopotamia. These ancient populations inhabited the sea and used to come inland for food.

    The ruins those people left reflect extraordinary capabilities in planning, design and construction, which I think cannot be achieved at the present despite the gigantic jump in development and technology. Are others curious about how these cultures achieved such technological advances? Have you read articles that explore this further?

    Ala Al-Kazzaz C.Eng, M.ASCE
    Procurement Consultant
    World Bank
    Holly Springs NC

  • 10.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 08-10-2018 10:13 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 08-10-2018 10:13 AM

    "Walking on the Sea of Clouds" by Gray Rinehart. This is a new science fiction novel about building the first Moon base. This novel is an engineer's dream. Instead of a dry non-fiction treatise, Mr. Rinehart writes the story about the first people who set up a moon base and how they do it. Mr. Rinehart, is a retired Air Force Colonel--a mechanical engineer led the USAF's space operations. The story excels at the engineer challenges.


    Brian Ceccarelli P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Apex, NC
    (919) 815-0126

  • 11.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 08-11-2018 02:44 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 08-11-2018 02:43 PM
    I read the Iliad again (for the 4th or 5th time), and I'm halfway through the Odyssey.  The engineering stuff is not the main event--some walls to be built at the Greek encampment, a Trojan horse, and a raft for Odysseus... gritty descriptions of helmet and shield performance might have some technical interest.  But as beautiful portrayals of human nature and the experience of life (often brutal), these old classics are hard to beat, and its somehow comforting to remember people 3000 years ago sound just like us.

    Edward Bell P.E., P.L.S., M.ASCE
    Public Works Director
    City of Mount Vernon
    Mount Vernon WA
    (360) 336-6204

  • 12.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 08-12-2018 09:03 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 08-12-2018 09:03 PM
    I'm rereading Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa.  It contains excellent lessons in leadership and discipline.  I've just finished a section where Musashi decides to apply his training in swordsmanship to farming.  He starts preparing fields for planting that nobody believes can be used and gets a lesson to not try to force water to go where you want it to.  When he changes his strategy to work with the natural path of the water instead of against it the farm flourishes.

    Jim Myers
    Ventura CA

  • 13.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 08-17-2018 10:46 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 08-17-2018 10:46 AM
    For anyone who likes to read productivity/business books, The One Thing by Gary Keller is a good one (and there's an audible, for those of us who like to put our headphones in while sitting on the beach.) 

    Great book to reduce overwhelm when you get back to the office........

    I'm also going to put in a plug for my own book, She Engineers (and I invite anyone on here to do the same as I always like to support fellow ASCE authors).

    Stephanie Slocum P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 14.  RE: Beach Reading List?

    Posted 07-08-2021 07:53 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 07-08-2021 07:52 PM

    "This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race" by Nicole Perlroth - for all engineers and those who use the internet.

    Michael Kozinetz Aff.M.ASCE
    Construction Manager
    Murrells Inlet SC