Applied Minds: How Engineers Think

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Guru Madhavan

Narrated By: Sean Pratt

Publisher: Gildan Media

Date: August 2015

Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes


A journey inside the minds that build our world. Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, looks nothing like Microsoft's Office Suite, and digital surround sound doesn't work like a citywide telecommunication grid. Yet these engineering feats have much in common. Applied Minds explores the unique visions and mental tools of engineers to reveal the enormous and often understated influence they wield in transforming problems into opportunities. The resulting account pairs the innovators of modern history, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Steve Jobs, with everything from ATMs and the ZIP code system to the disposable diaper. An engineer himself, Guru Madhavan introduces a flexible intellectual tool kit called modular systems thinking as he explains the discipline's penchant for seeing structure where there is none. The creations that result from this process express the engineer's answers to the fundamental questions of design: usefulness, functionality, reliability, and user friendliness. Through narratives and case studies spanning the brilliant history of engineering, Madhavan shows how the concepts of prototyping, efficiency, reliability, standards, optimization, and feedback are put to use in fields as diverse as transportation, retail, health care, and entertainment. Equal parts personal, practical, and profound, Applied Minds charts a path to a future where we apply strategies borrowed from engineering to create useful and inspired solutions to our most pressing challenges.


  • Dasarathy Raghunathan

    I am not sure about this book. I listened to it and walked away with only a whole list of anecdotes or stories and some philosophical musings on what is the engineering practice is and what it should be etc. but nothing substantial. It is well written. Narrated perhaps a little too fast. I say that because I am used to listening at 1.5x effectively but this one felt a little funny at that speed. I just felt like the I couldn't say that I learnt the following things from the book and make even a short list of 3-4 items.

  • Tandy Pok

    I loved it. But I'm an engineer so my perspective is skewed.

Applied Minds: How Engineers Think

by Guru Madhavan

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Applied Minds: How Engineers Think, Guru Madhavan