Behind every good engineer is a good book. Here is a list of essential books for mechanical engineers.
1. Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain. In my opinion this is the best reference
book for hand calculations because it includes formulas for a wide range of
engineering problems. It is accepted by most people as a good reference even in
safety critical industries such as nuclear.
2. Mechanical Engineer's Data Handbook. This book has a bit of everything in it and
I usually look at this one before anything else. It just scratches the surface of most
subjects and is ideal to use as a quick 'look see'. I take mine everywhere with me
except on holiday.
3. Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design. Another widely used and popular book.
It has quite a lot of worked examples in it and covers them in some depth. It's a bit
too big to carry around but definitely worth the money.
4. Building Better Products with Finite Element Analysis. This is a rare example of
an FEA book that is practical and is perfect for design engineers who would like
learn more about finite element analysis.
5. Steel Designers' Manual. An excellent reference for the big stuff such as
6. Machinery's Handbook. This is the bible of mechanical engineering books. It's got
just about everything to do with machinery in it. I find it particularly useful for
thread details. It's well worth the investment.7. Peterson's Stress Concentration
Factors. If you need to do some hand calculations to find peak stress for fatigue
studies then this book is a must have. I rarely use it myself because I prefer FEA.
8. Atlas of Stress-Strain Curves. If you want to do some non-linear FEA work on
metals this book has hundreds of stress-strain curves in it.
9. Mechanics of Engineering Materials. This is another one with lots of worked
examples in it. I've had the first edition from university and still use it occasionally.
10. Tables, Data and Formulae for Engineers and Mathematicians.This book is small
enough to carry around and is cheap as chips. If I lost it I'd buy another.