Nevile Shute was a British novelist, probably best known for “On the Beach” and “A Town Like Alice“. But Nevil Shute was actually a pen name for Nevil Shute Norway (in the pre-internet age, this was enough to be anonymous!), who was Chief Engineer on the Vickers, Ltd airship, the R101.
The R101 had an unfortunate end, and along with the similar fate of the famous Hindenburg, basically ended the dirigible industry, BUT, Shute’s endlessly interesting career is documented in his all but forgotten autobiography, “Slide Rule“.
His story is told with a novelists flare for language, but with an engineer’s attention to technical detail, resulting in a quick read and summary of a career that is endlessly fascinating, as well as inspiring to any new engineer.
Like, Leonardo Da Vinci, Nevil Shute is an historical engineer who we can look back to as a touchstone to what we strive to accomplish today.
If you’re looking for an interesting read, I highly recommend “Slide Rule”.