5 Habits of an Extraordinary Reliability Engineer – My review

Peter Horsburgh has essentially captured the 5 Habits of an Extraordinary Reliability Engineer in his book! His style of writing appeals to engineers as he keeps the content directly on point and provides case studies to each of his chapters. Most engineers aren’t big readers (except for manuals and when absolutely necessary) but the conversational tone in which Peter explains some of his revelations about the industry ideally captures the attention of reader. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it!

What I really love about this book is that it was holistically designed for engineers. The book is small allowing persons to carry it around anywhere and it isn’t too thick to daunt the reader into thinking that they need to allocate a couple of days to reading it. Peter has kept the chapters short, driving the various points home and has even provided summaries for each section of the book. This makes it super easy when trying to relate to an issue that he has discussed. Peter has also done an excellent job with the illustrations in the book to keep the reader’s attention and provide for some light amusement to keep the book as a guide that engineers want to return to time and time again

Additionally, an extra step was taken to ensure that the book has some durability built into it. The pages aren’t the ordinary soft paper, rather the pages have a bit of a card stock finish. This was my first light bulb moment after opening the book (there were tonnes more light bulb moments while reading it!). Obviously the pages had to be durable! This book was meant to be in the workshop with the engineers becoming part of their manuals! I can clearly see engineers rushing back to this book during the course of the day to get back to a particular chapter or case study that can assist them in some issue of the day.

I definitely enjoyed this book! Peter first introduces the reader to the 5 Don’ts of Reliability Engineering. I hadn’t realized until then that the “Don’ts” that were covered form critical parts of any Reliability Engineers’ day! The manner in which he introduces these stood out for me, as he brought in case studies to demonstrate instances where he dealt with some of these “Don’ts” or even performed them himself. It is with these case studies that I appreciated that some of the situations that I face daily may receive a “Don’t” when it shouldn’t. With Peter’s story telling ability, he was able to truly relate to the readers the practical examples of things that should and shouldn’t be done. Unlike other books, he demonstrates the impacts (and throws some financials in there as well, which helps us to actually quantify what we’re looking at) of particular “Don’ts”.

Right after the “Don’ts” section, he launches into the “5 Habits” which are each covered in their own Chapters. While he explains the habits in this section, he then further dedicates each Habit to a Section (not just a Chapter) where he mixes in his real life experiences as his Case Studies while providing introductory information on the habits and their impacts on the plant and its reliability. Quite skilfully, afterwards he dedicates a Section to “Applying the habits”. This is in keeping with the conciseness of the book!  

I would highly recommend that all Reliability Engineers add this book to their library! It’s a book that gets all the lightbulbs blinking in your head from the moment that you begin reading it. However, it is not a book to be read just once, it needs to form part of your routine (either weekly or monthly). After reading this book, I can almost guarantee that the week that you spend in work afterwards will be nothing short of interesting as you may find yourself thinking… “Peter covered this in his book…let me just look back and verify if this can be dealt with in another way”. That being said, I believe that any engineer will make it part of their “consultation” guide especially during brainstorming sessions. It was indeed a pleasure reading this book! 

Check out his website for more info on getting this amazing book! https://www.reliabilityextranet.com/


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