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

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Petroski Henry. To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design
NY: Vintage, 1992 — 269 p. — ISBN 9780679734161.
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 defintely the more enjoyable - of these two titles.
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