Are You Doing Your Professional Reading?

Professional reading


As reliability engineers we are the local expert. We know the arcane arts of product life and equipment uptime design and maintenance. We are sought after to estimate useful life, time to first failure, and consulted when failures occur.

We need to know how to work across disciplines. The fields of statistics, material science, chemistry, physics get us started. We need to work closely with professionals in electrical, mechanical, and software engineering. We need to understand manufacturing, distribution and warranty processes.

In short, our need to learn never stops.

How to Keep Up — Read

In the article by Seth Godin, Did you do the reading?, he briefly exhorts us to do the reading. To work though the textbooks and technical articles. To read for deep understanding in our field.

So what should you read? Seth suggests you should know.

Are you aware of what the reading (your reading) must include? What’s on the list? The more professional your field, the more likely it is that people know what’s on the list.

You may already have a professional library. A shelf close at hand when you need to review a concept, find a formula or explain a principle to a peer. Do you have a couple of books that challenge you? That provide you with more knowledge and the opportunity to learn?

I’m building a list and posting it on the Accendo Reliability site under Resources | Books. At the start the list is heavily based on the book on my shelf. Yet I know it’s not complete. Take a look, and add your goto books and the books you find most useful as you continue to learn.

Ongoing Study

In Seth’s article he suggests reading is not simply picking up a book.

The reading isn’t merely a book, of course. The reading is what we call it when you do the difficult work of learning to think with the best, to stay caught up, to understand.

It may be a blog post, a journal article, or a technical paper. I think of reading professionally involves working the problems, exploring how to implement an idea. It often involves, for me, paper and pencil.

Seth then explains the benefit of the work involved when reading.

The reading exposes you to the state of the art. The reading helps you follow a thought-through line of reasoning and agree, or even better, challenge it. The reading takes effort.

In the effort is the value. Learn and master your craft. Continue to read. And Seth finishes the article with:

If you haven’t done the reading, why expect to be treated as a professional?

What are you reading? What is on your shelf? Leave a comment here or visit the Accendo Reliability site and add your comment there.

About Fred Schenkelberg

I am an experienced reliability engineering and management consultant with my firm FMS Reliability. My passion is working with teams to create cost-effective reliability programs that solve problems, create durable and reliable products, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce warranty costs.

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