Review - An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

I’m giving this book three stars because I can see myself returning over and over again to this book to sanity check my thinking about something at work. It’s got a lot of simply written, simply structured ‘how to do this’ type sections.

I wanted to give it two stars though, because on the whole I didn’t really like it. To summarise, its worst features are:

  • Incomprehensible diagrams. Some are so hard to understand I felt annoyed with the author and editor that I was subjected to them. I’ve linked Vicki Boykis’ review below which details most of the terrible diagrams.
  • Messy structure. Really shows that Will Larson drafted this book by sticking together existing blog posts.
  • Too high-level. Larson must have plenty of interesting war stories, and they would have grounded his pie-in-the-sky prescriptions.

For a longer review that I wholly endorse, see Do we need tech management books? by Vicki Boykis.