Obvious truths for engineers.

One of the things I did during my vacation in Greece, was to attend my graduation ceremony and formally get my diploma from the NTUA. As a graduation gift, my father, an engineer himself (trained electrical-turned software), gave me Fred Brooks’ The Mythical Man-Month, an altogether fitting gift for any young engineer.

On the first page of the book, my father scribbled two pieces of common wisdom, which I want to share here. Here’s an English-language version of what he wrote:

Michalis,

Now that you became an engineer, remember:

  1. A task can be done
    1. well
    2. fast
    3. cheaply

    And of these three, you can only pick two at a time.

  2. For everyday usage, the transcendental number pi is just 3.14.

May your years be beautiful and creative.

Obvious truths but, as is also the case of most of the things Brooks mentions in the Mythical Man-Month, people tend to overlook them. (No, people don’t forget that pi is 3.14, that reference is obviously an allusion to the KISS principle.)

Thanks dad.

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