Summary of Applied Minds

How Engineers Think

W.W. Norton, more...

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Applied Minds book summary
Guru Madhavan’s sketch of the “engineering mind-set” reveals the world of problem solvers, innovators and inventors.


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Biomedical engineer Guru Madhavan’s overview of the “engineering mind-set” dives into the world of problem solvers, innovators and inventors. He explains a lot about urban planning, medical research and advances in the finance industry. Madhavan highlights key terms and concepts by introducing a cast of more or less illustrious personages. Examples from history, different continents and a variety of disciplines bring his arguments to life. His storytelling from inside engineering is more revealing than his lighter conclusions about how engineers think. getAbstract recommends this compact read to students, policy makers, architects, medical researchers and anyone who frequently interacts with engineers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to approach problems with an “engineering mind-set,”
  • How famous engineers invented pioneering products
  • How engineers find solutions despite constraints


“Engineering Mind-Set”
Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval was an 18th-century engineer who worked for the French military. Gribeauval was obsessed over technical detail. He often imagined different ways to improve various instruments and devices.

At the time, cannons were...
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About the Author

A distinguished researcher at the National Academy of Sciences, Guru Madhavan is a biomedical engineer and senior policy adviser.

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