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To Engineer Is Human:

The Role of Failure in Successful Design

Paperback (272 pages)
Behind every great engineering success is a trail of often ignored (but frequently spectacular) engineering failures.

To Engineer Is Human:

To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design, by Petroski, Henry

The moral of this book is that behind every great engineering success is a trail of often ignored (but frequently spectacular) engineering failures. Petroski covers many of the best known examples of well-intentioned but ultimately failed design in action -- the galloping Tacoma Narrows Bridge (which you've probably seen tossing cars willy-nilly in the famous black-and-white footage), the collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel walkways -- and many lesser known but equally informative examples.

The line of reasoning Petroski develops in this book were later formalized into his quasi-Darwinian model of technological evolution in The Evolution of Useful Things, but this book is arguably the more illuminating -- and definItely the more enjoyable -- of these two titles. Highly recommended.

Galloping Gertie...

Related Scanning WWII dates...

  • 07 Nov 40: Galloping Gertie bridge collapses into the Puget Sound

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  • To Engineer Is Human:
    The Role of Failure in Successful Design

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