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Cover of An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

Published: Estimated Reading Time: (2 min read)

Key Points:

  • Real-Life Scenarios: The book dives into real-world situations faced by tech leaders, such as managing technical debt and handling team dynamics.
  • Structured Principles: Larson offers structured approaches to common challenges in engineering management, from team sizing to succession planning.
  • Human-Centric Thinking: Emphasizes the importance of balancing technical solutions with the human aspects of management.
  • Career Guidance: Provides advice on hiring, performance evaluation, promotion, and retention.
  • Organizational Design: Discusses effective team and organizational structures to enhance productivity and innovation.


In this comprehensive guide, Will Larson draws from his extensive experience at companies like Yahoo, Digg, Uber, and Stripe to address the multifaceted challenges of engineering management. He offers a balanced approach that integrates structured principles with a focus on the human elements of leadership. The book is divided into six independent chapters, making it easy to reference specific topics as needed.

Larson provides practical advice on managing technical debt, designing effective teams, and fostering a positive organizational culture. He also highlights the importance of building strong relationships with team members and understanding their individual goals and challenges. With real-life examples and actionable insights, this book serves as a valuable resource for engineering managers at all levels.

“An Elegant Puzzle” is highly regarded for its practical approach and insightful commentary on the intricacies of engineering management. It is recommended for anyone looking to enhance their leadership skills and create more effective and rewarding environments for engineers to thrive