Career Advice

The Never-Ending Challenge of Engineering: Admiral H.G. Rickover in His Own Words
Anthony Fasano posted on January 04, 2016 |

The following is a summary of Episode 92 of our podcast, The Engineering Career Coach (TECC) Podcast. You can also listen to the show through the player below, the website, or by subscribing on iTunes.

In today’s episode, author Dr. Paul Cantonwine talks about The Never-Ending Challenge of Engineering: Admiral H.G. Rickover in His Own Words, which is a practical and philosophical look at the principles used by engineers and leaders from the perspective of Admiral Hyman George Rickover – one of America’s greatest engineers.

Why Admiral H.G. Rickover is a model for engineers:

Admiral H.G. Rickover on:

Education/training – He is an adamant educator. You have to love learning in order to innovate.

Leadership/organizational culture/professionalism – He developed organizations enabling engineers to work as professionals. Learn the importance of professionalism in your career.

Three American innovators – He studied the lives of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and George Washington Carver on how they overcame adversity to become successful innovators. Something in common with the 3 innovators is that they love to learn and they had to overcome many obstacles to develop their knowledge.

Technology’s impact on society – He was philosophical on how technology has impacted modern life but it is a gift people have to take care of.

A man’s purpose in life – He gave a speech about the importance of taking action. You can do all the learning and training but you have to take action.

Excerpt from the book, The Never-Ending Challenge of Engineering: Admiral H.G. Rickover in His Own Words

“I can think of no better way to raise engineering to the highest professional level than by practicing it in such a manner that every side effect is carefully considered and nothing is done which might conceivably damage fellow citizens, especially those as yet unborn. In fact, I should like to see an engineering oath expressing this sense of responsibility. It might well be something like the ephebic oath sworn by all young Athenians when, at the end of two years of preparation and service, they become full citizens. Each of these young men—called ephebi—promised solemnly to leave his city ‘not less but better than he found it.’

A promise to leave his country not less but better than he found it would be a most appropriate beginning for an engineering career.” – Admiral H. G. Rickover

How would you emulate Admiral Rickover in your engineering career and life?

Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success, found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website at to access all of the free engineering career resources he has created to help engineers succeed.

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