Do you want to know more about IT, software engineering? Try these recommended reads
Welcome to Thomas Insights – every day we post the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date with what’s happening in the industry. Sign up here to receive the best stories of the day straight to your inbox.
The best people in the industry are always learning. They strive to stay informed about the classic books that have informed their field and the revolutionary new books that are storming the market.
When you’re no longer immersed in an apprenticeship program, trade school class, or college program, it can be difficult to know where to find the right books to read to develop your skills and knowledge.
Below, Thomas’s staff from a variety of professional backgrounds share his recommended reading, which includes books on manufacturing, information technology (IT), software engineering, and more.
Made in the United States: The Rise and Fall of American Manufacturing by Vaclav Smil
Vice President of Platform Growth and Engagement Cathy Ma recommends Vaclav Smil’s Made in the United States: The Rise and Fall of American Manufacturing as “a great book that dates back to the history of manufacturing and innovation in the United States, its contributions to the country and, most importantly, advice on where we should invest our efforts to protect our economy and our democracy ”.
Published by MIT Press, Made in the USA argues that manufacturing is vital to the health of the US economy. A strong and creative manufacturing sector creates jobs, is strategically important to the well-being of the country, and makes America a thought leader.
This informative read provides a historical overview of American manufacturing, detailing its boom in the late 19th century, the impacts of WWI and WWII, how it resulted in mass consumption in the postwar period. and how it has declined since. . For years, it has been argued that moving manufacturing overseas was a step forward for the United States. Although the book was published in 2015, the trade war and supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic have made this book all the more prescient as the majority of companies are now looking to relocate.
In Made in the USA, Smil examines the need to cut corporate taxes, how public education needs to be improved, and why there should be more research and development. He postulates that the loss of America’s manufacturing industry will shrink the middle class and jeopardize the country’s prosperity.
Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance by Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih
“Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance is an incredibly well-researched book that shines a light on the importance of manufacturing, “says Ma.” Even though it was published in 2012, her case study on the international semiconductor industry and advanced manufacturing is extremely poignant and relevant today.
In Produce prosperity, authors Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih argue that the decision to outsource manufacturing has crippled innovation and competition. While companies outsource to minimize their production costs, this hurts in the long run an economy that is heavily driven by innovation. Ultimately, the United States will lose its competitive edge.
This data-driven book says the government should encourage university-industry partnerships and enable scientific research. Plus, it provides insight for business leaders to make more informed decisions about outsourcing.
The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim
“Math formulas are dry and boring to read,” says Mike Santasiero, Supplier Content Manager. “I favor approaches that focus on history. This is why he recommends Gene Kim’s The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win.
Over half a million copies of this business book, disguised as a novel, have sold. A page turner, The Phoenix project tells a story about the IT world that anyone working in this industry can relate to. The novel centers around an IT manager tasked with an urgent project that, of course, is over budget and already late. If he doesn’t get things right, his entire department will be outsourced.
Along the way, IT manager Bill needs to create an efficient workflow, optimize communication between departments, and keep daily operations in motion. He begins to realize that working in IT is a bit like working in a manufacturing plant.
The mythical man-month: essays on software engineering by Frederick Brooks Jr.
“The month of the mythical man is a classic, ”Ma says.“ One quote I’ll never forget is: ‘Question: How can a great software project be a year behind schedule? Answer: one day at a time! ‘”
The mythical man-month: essays on software engineering by Frederick Brooks Jr. is partly software engineering facts and partly evocative opinions from the field. Brooks worked as a project manager for the IBM System / 360 family of computers and later for their software system, OS / 360, before publishing this book in 1975. He has since won the National Medal of Technology and the Turing Award. .
Readers discovered that Brooks’ ideas extend beyond the realm of software and could apply to anyone running projects. For example, the essays cover how to structure work packages, the need for clear communication and a secure corporate culture. The month of the mythical man was updated for an anniversary edition in 1995, and although technology has advanced since then, this book has remained timeless and valuable.
Human + Machine: reinventing work in the age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson
Thomas President and CEO Tony Uphoff Says Human + Machine has “tons of tips specifically for the manufacturing industry.”
“I loved it,” says Andra Beddia Schwab, vice president of program management. “I benefit so much as we move forward on these transformational initiatives. “
She notes: “This right balance between the machine and the human is at the heart of everything we do to move forward, from my point of view!
“Excellent book,” agrees Robert Terry, vice president of inside sales.
Human + Machine: Working in the Age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson explains that artificial intelligence (AI) is already being used in software, robotics and supply chains. The book contains research on how 1,500 organizations are using AI.
To help readers stay competitive, the book contains five principles on how businesses can become AI-driven. Additionally, the authors explore six hybrid human + machine roles that these companies should create to stay relevant.
This article contains affiliate links.
Image Credit: Gecko Studio / Shutterstuck.com