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Faculty Bookshelf

Being promoted at work offers a chance to look back on the influences that have brought you to this point. In this spirit, the College of Engineering asks faculty members who are promoted to a new rank to select a book that has had a profound effect on them as scholars and as human beings, a copy of which is dedicated to the UIC Library. Below, a few faculty members explain their picks; to see all entries, visit the Book Dedications page.


Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age
by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

This book helped me understand the historical and human contexts of removal/ deletion of information and capabilities that are central to my research. It also motivated my broader socio-technical focus within computer science research.

Chris Kanich  |  Associate Professor, Computer Science

The Complete Book of Ghazals of Hafez
edited by Sajjad Khojasteh

From Hafez’s poems, I learned many life lessons, including my first engineering lesson—optimization! I realized how a short verse of his poems so elegantly optimizes word arrangements to convey deep messages.

Hananeh Esmailbeigi  |  Clinical Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Alfred & Agnes
by Frieda Stiehl

Frieda Stiehl tells the story of the life of her German immigrant parents, Alfred and Agnes, set against the backdrop of dramatic political and social events. The book illustrates that many developments in life are determined by personal decisions but also by historical events that are out of one’s own control. Alfred and Agnes are fortunate that Frieda has preserved the memory of their extraordinary lives in a compelling narration, while the memory of most persons is lost after the passing of the people who immediately knew them. While reading the book it occurred to me that I am pleased that my scientific contributions are documented in publications. But it also made me ask whether there is something else or more important that I want to be remembered for.

Dieter Klatt  |  Associate Professor, Bioengineering

The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons
by Napoleon Hill

This book taught me the importance of clearly defining goals for all important undertakings and always pursuing excellence, which has helped me in my research work. Further, it taught me to try to create opportunities if none are apparent. This has helped me keep an optimistic frame of mind.

Vikas Berry  |  Professor, Chemical Engineering
J. Lucy Shi

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

This book taught me some essential values for life: in particular, hope and perseverance, trust and friendship.

J. Lucy Shi  |  Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Jie (Jane) Lin

Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom

Recently, my 7-year-old son has been asking about death and expressing his fear of death. My answer to him was basically a paraphrase of what Professor Morrie Schwartz says in this book: “As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed as ignorant as you were at twenty-two, you’d always be twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”

Jie (Jane) Lin  |  Professor, Civil and Materials Engineering