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Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School: Skills for Success in the Real World

ISBN: 978-0-471-65576-3
192 pages
November 2004, Wiley-IEEE Press
Stuff You Don


An engineer's road map to professional and personal success

Congratulations! You're an engineer, and now you're ready to take the corporate world by storm. But in order to succeed in your career, you'll need more than just great technical skills. You'll need to be able to promote your ideas, share them with others, and work with a wide variety of people. Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School: Skills for Success in the Real World is designed to give engineers entering the corporate world the "soft" skills they'll need to succeed--in business, and in life. Based on the author's popular leadership seminars, this easy-to-digest guide to success will help even the most inhibited engineer to comfortably deal with the difficult people, processes, and meetings of today's competitive business world.

Step by step, you'll learn important skills like
* Setting priorities
* Working in a team
* Being more effective at meetings
* Speaking in front of a group
* Negotiating personal or business issues
* Dealing with stress
* And just having more fun in the process!

Filled with insightful, practical advice addressing dozens of vital skill areas and helpful tips you can apply immediately to any situation, Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School will help you take charge of your career and achieve the success for which you've worked so hard.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Stuff you don't learn in engineering school.

Chapter 2: Writing.

Chapter 3: Speaking and listening.

Chapter 4: Making decisions.

Chapter 5: Getting feedback.

Chapter 6: Setting priorities.

Chapter 7: Being effective at meetings.

Chapter 8: Understanding yourself and others.

Chapter 9: Working in teams.

Chapter 10: Learn to negotiate.

Chapter 11: Being more creative.

Chapter 12: Ethics in the workplace.

Chapter 13: Developing leadership skills.

Chapter 14: Adapting to the workplace.

Chapter 15: Dealing with stress and having fun.

Chapter 16: Taking action and summing up.

Appendix 1: Manager's survey on nontechnical skills of young engineers.

Appendix 2: Engineers' concerns with the real world and other issues.

Appendix 3: List of professional societies.

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Author Information

CARL SELINGER is an independent consultant in aviation, transportation planning, and strategic business planning. During his thirty-one-year career at The Port Authority of NY & NJ, Mr. Selinger rose to Manager of Aviation Business Development. He spent twenty-seven years teaching at such respected institutions as The Cooper Union, SUNY Maritime, Pace University, NJIT, and City College of New York. Mr. Selinger is currently an active member of the Airports Council International, Business Information Technologies Committee, American Society of Civil Engineers, Institute of Transportation Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, and the Women's Transportation Seminar, which honored him as its Greater NY Chapter's 1998 Member of the Year.
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"…whether the reader is an enterprising young striver or a highly seasoned professional who has 'been around the block,' one may find some tidbits of real-world wisdom within these pages." (Software Quality Professional, June 2005)

"…is designed to teach these skills and thereby help its readers become effective and proficient in the corporate world." (Electronic Design Online, June 14, 2005)

"…do consider adding this title to your engineering collection…I have mentioned the book in every information resources session I teach in mechanical, chemical, and materials engineering." (Blogcritics.org)

"Pragmatic and thorough, this title seems likely to appeal to its target audience." (E-STREAMS, May 2005)

"...imparts important skills: setting priorities, working in a team, being more effective at meetings, speaking in front of a group, negotiating personal or business issues, dealing with stress, and having more fun in the process." (Mechanical Engineering, February 2005)

"This useful book is a primer-or perhaps a survival guide…imparts useful knowledge in a fairly painless way. Selinger isn't just teaching business skills; he's teaching life skills." (Civil Engineering, February 2005)

"It is terrific....very valuable for engineers.....well thought out and right on the money." - Neil Senturia, Blackbird Ventures

"What a nice surprise to receive it. I've told several people about the book. It's such a great topic, one which you know I especially appreciate. - Susan de la Vergne, www.susandelavergne.com

"Throughout my career, I’ve always said that I’ve been helped a lot by things that I didn’t learn in engineering school. This is especially true of the Dartmouth curriculum for engineers, which requires 5 years, and has a strong liberal arts component. So I planned my speech around the theme of how important it is to be able to do more than technical things. At the same time, I saw your book mentioned in the ASCE newspaper, so I thought that it would make a nice gift to the 150 engineering graduates. I purchased the book through Barnes and Noble (internet, of course). It is a good, useful publication about something that I believe very strongly. I was happy to see that someone has written a book about something that should be a fundamental precept for success in the world of engineering, and I was happy to share it with some young people who will shape the world for the next 40 years." - Tom O'Neill, CEO Parsons Brinckerhoff

"I think that part of what we do as educators, in addition to developing knowledge, skills, and experiences in the curricula, is to equip the students with other useful survival skills. Carl's experiences as reflected in his book are an example of these skills. While the book is written from an engineering perspective, its contents apply across the disciplines. I was so taken by its relevance to the needs of students that I recommended it to the Graduate Honors Program at Baruch. The danger in the book is that may be perceived as relevant only to engineering. This is definitely not the case. It ought, I believe, be done on across all departments and all classes. Perhaps it is my long experience in the business world that accounts for enthusiasm for what Carl has done and can do. My survival kit looks much like Carl's." - James Drogan, Acting Director, Graduate Program in International Transportation Management, SUNY Maritime College

"It was like having my own personal mentor at the tip of my fingers." - Kimberly Gilbert, Track Engineering Manager, SYSTRA Consulting

"I found your book to be perfectly appropriate for this [first job] stage of my life. What a great toolbox for me to start my career with. The examples and tips you give are truly helpful and I plan on keeping it available for referencing at each and every profession that I explore in the future." - Laynie Weaver, National Transit Institute, Rutgers University

"I enjoyed your book and will recommend it highly to everyone I know. You are great encouragement to those in the engineering field." - Darlene Rivera, P.E., Project Manager, Berger Lehman Associates, P.C.

"Those of you who've been following Carl Selinger's monthly "Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School" column on the IEEE Spectrum Careers site will be pleased to learn of his book by the same title. The book covers non-technical "real world" leadership skills like decision-making, setting priorities, negotiating, teamwork, running meetings, and better writing and speaking. We're big fans of Carl's friendly, level-headed approaching to tackling these often confusing topics." - IEEE Canada Newsletter

"The book was very readable and filled with insights. I was particularly fond of the chapters on assertiveness and leadership. The book has an excellent combination of helpful business and social tips, reasons to learn them, and methods to gain these traits for yourself. The book is a powerful tool for newly minted engineers and experienced professional engineers." - Dominick Gatto, P.E.

"Selinger offers a condensed, easy to read synopsis of important skills engineers need to know to succeed in business, such as how to conduct meetings, time management, and decision making. The ideas are given in practical, easy to follow, guidelines, with examples. Good sourcebook for career development." - Mary Gennuso, Computer Specialist, NYC Transit

"Carl Selinger is on target for his efforts and employers owe him a debt as well. Managers benefit because they get a window on what Carl discusses with students when they attend his seminars. As we go through many of the current management fads, folks like Carl seem to understand that it is the "software" (i.e., the people) that make the difference. People skills are extremely important if you expect to survive. Every good project manager I have ever worked with or sharp youngster I have had the privilege of developing "gets it" at this basic level. The organization of the book touches on topics that most engineering schools cannot teach. For those of you with lower grades in engineering school than you would have liked, or those of you who know a recent engineering grad or a soon to be engineering grad, this is the book for you." - Steven Marrano, ATCO

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