Which book is useful for reading

Reading tips: this is how you can cross-read technical books

Reading is part of the work of an engineer. In doing so, they do not browse through the latest Spiegel bestsellers, but rather acquire knowledge from technical texts. The art of reading sideways is crucial. We reveal here how engineers proceed here to access books more quickly.

You can learn to read books sideways. Here are tips for engineers.

Photo: panthemedia.net/Valery Vvoennyy

Case studies, white papers or manuals: Engineers read a lot in their everyday work. Fast and efficient reading is important here. After all, nobody has three hours a day to delve into the pages of a tech issue. But understanding what you read is just as important. You can do this with the following tips Cross reading.

Plan reading time despite cross-reading

Distraction lurks everywhere in everyday life - be it the ringing phone, WhatsApp messages or the children in home schooling in the corona crisis. Concentrated reading is hardly possible, so reading time should be planned. Allow a little more time to take notes. Depending on the technology, 15 pages of specialist literature can be read in 30 minutes. The requirement here is: 250 words per minute.

Notes promote understanding

When reading, a notebook should always be close by, because writing down key points promotes understanding of technical texts. Concepts, formulas or logical conclusions: This is how what you read is reproduced in your own words. The written form is far better than capturing bullet points in a laptop. This is also the result of a study by Pam A. Mueller from Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer from the University of California in Los Angeles.

Physical books are better suited

E-books are trendy because they are light and you can take millions of books with you wherever you go. But printed books are better for absorbing information quickly. Studies have shown that online reading habits mean that people cannot sink into a text as deeply as they would with a physical book. Reading on the screen is less focused. A neuroscientific research paper from PRI showed that we use different parts of the brain when we read in front of a piece of paper or a display. Anyone reading a physical book can remember the plot more easily than if the story was consumed on the Kindle.

Reading in a quiet room

Reading technical books sideways can be exhausting at times. To avoid distractions, it is advisable to retreat to a quiet room. The phone stays outside or the smartphone should at least be out of sight.

Lateral reading: scan text first

Studying and skipping technical books is different from reading a novel. It is important to have a strong contextual understanding of the content. Therefore, the entire text should only be scanned in advance. Special attention is paid to sub-headings and all highlighted elements such as boxes or bullet points. It is useful to read the introduction and the conclusion of the text. This creates a framework.

Read selectively

Technical books contain a lot of information and concepts. If all of the content does not need to be read, then neither should you. Selective reading is the key to knowledge. Readers should decide in advance when scanning for the important chapters for their own job and edit them preferentially. The book's index also helps you navigate through the work. If the book is about artificial intelligence, for example, the directory provides information on the structure and depth of the technology covered. According to Dartmouth College's Academic Skills Center, reading a text word for word is an outdated way of understanding the key points. Instead, every engineer should get better at reading selectively.

Prepare a summary after reading it sideways

Finished reading and the book closed: only now does the work begin. Take your notes to hand and bundle the findings into a summary. Did you get what you were hoping for? Have new questions arose? After reading it, it is essential to take additional notes to consolidate the content. Drawing a mind map can also be helpful.

Practice creates masters

Reading technical books quickly takes practice. Why don't you set a timer and record how many words you can do per minute. When you notice that you've consumed large amounts of text without understanding much of it, it's time to slow down again.

Cross-reading must-haves: useful books for engineers

If you want to test the above tips for cross-reading directly, you will surely find suggestions in the list of these useful books for engineers.

Book tip: Computer modeling in the aerospace industry

The aerospace industry is in a state of immense change. Whether it is about the introduction of drone technology, flying taxis or the simulation of aerospace equipment: Readers learn a lot about the development in the book “Computer Modeling in the Aerospace Industry” by the publisher Iftikhar B. Abbasov. Aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, researchers and developers in the aerospace industry as well as aircraft designers and engineering students will find exciting approaches in this work. The bound book costs 155 euros.

Book tip: AI nanomaterials for solving environmental problems

Artificial intelligence (AI) -based nanomaterials can be used to solve environmental problems such as air and water pollution. Didn't know yet? Then this book tip is for you. The work “Artificially Intelligent Nanomaterials for Environmental Engineering” deals with design concepts and the most important chemical principles of AI nanomaterials. The physical version is available for 139 euros.

Book tip: Manual for mechanical engineers

Whether you are a student or already at work: this manual is a useful aid in practice. It presents specialist knowledge in a structured and application-oriented manner. Alfred and Wolfgang Böge provide formulas, tables and calculation examples in compact form. The bound book costs just under 85 euros.

Book tip: The ethics engineer

In “The Ethical Engineer,” Robert McGinn highlights an ethics gap that he believes exists in technology. Topics such as data protection, digital privacy and professional misconduct are covered in the book. If you are not afraid of difficult topics, you should read it. The paperback costs 37 euros.

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A contribution by:

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for ingenieur.de. After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.