Amazon Review

Best book for learning the basics of structural engineering. Master the concepts in this book and you will be set for life

Engineers working on the structure

Amazon Review

Brohn makes no apologies for writing a book which shuns mathematical equations and instead focuses on a qualitative understanding of structural analysis (mostly in 2-dimensions). Furthermore he deals only briefly with statically determinate analysis. I think this is a sensible approach as the target audience for the book is those who already have some ability in theoretical mechanics and are moving on to using the ‘black-box’ tool of computerised structural analysis usually required for commercial engineering. In this situation the more important skill is an understanding of the graphical output rather than the mathematical details.

The format of the book is that of PowerPoint-style printouts. Unlike most textbooks which contain endless text with some scattered equations, each page of this book features 4 sketches and 4 associated paragraphs of text to explain the drawing. This method of presentation is more intuitive for engineers who typically communicate by drawing rather than writing.

The aforementioned features of this text make it a must-read for those beginning to use computer based stiffness matrix based structural analysis software with graphical outputs. The knowledge contained within this book will help combat the silly errors made by inexperienced graduates that plague the engineering professions.

It is also worth mentioning that experienced practitioners will instantly realise that the software alone is worth the £40 asking price of the book (although it might be difficult for the uninitiated to get to grips with).


Mark Moppett, CEng FIStructE, Managing Director, Booth King

During my early days at Arup I attended two of your brilliant short sessions and a course on qualitative analysis in 1986 and 1987 respectively. I also bought your book which still has pride of place on my bookshelf.

This is a note to say a huge, belated thank you for teaching me those essential skills which I have used every day since and taught to the countless engineers who have worked with me. Those skills have been so important and never more so now that 3D analysis is so prevalent.

By way of an update, after 15 years at Arup, I moved to a small unfashionable practice, Booth King. I ate jam and bread for tea for 4 years and bought out all three original partners. Here we are almost 20 year later, 4 times bigger (30 staff), 3 UK offices and doing fantastic projects.

I wish I had sent you a thank you before to show my appreciation and gratitude.


Jozef Buday, Managing Director

E training courses – Understanding Structural Behaviour and Understanding Structural Design – have encouraged me to look deeper into the structural design. Visual explanation of static principals, sketches with comments and real examples are making it interesting for the whole design community. I’ve already recommended it to my colleagues.

Engineers working on the structure

Carole O’Neil Partner, HR and Training, Cundall

We piloted the E-Training Systems product this year, to help bridge the gap between academic study and the world of work, for our Graduate Structural Engineers. We found that some of our junior staff, whilst very well-qualified academically, sometimes found it difficult to apply their academic knowledge in a practical setting, particularly with regard to how structures were likely to behave in practice. Our students were encouraged to work through the Understanding Structural Behaviour module, and some of the case studies. They very much enjoyed the self-paced nature of the modules, which enabled them to undertake the training at times to suit them, and to fit this around their work commitments. They also appreciated the fact that they were awarded a CPD certificate at the end of the programme, which provides useful evidence for their training portfolio. The exam at the end of each module helped to satisfy us that our investment in the training had been worthwhile, by confirming that our students had completed the module and extracted some learning from it.

Engineers working on the structure

Priyan Wijeyeratne, WB Civil Structural Engineers

Your work is a great help for learners of Structural Engineering

Engineers working on the structure

Sarah Golland

I find this method extremely helpful. At Uni I felt like the theory was just skipped over and we jumped straight to memorising deflected shapes and bending moment diagrams; eventually you can’t memorise any more. This method means I can understand how to build up the shape and bending moments from first principles so has much higher utility. The videos are very clear and easy to follow as well.