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To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design Paperback – March 31, 1992

4.6 out of 5 stars 409 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. Highly recommended.

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"Reading Petroski's fine book is not only a delight, it is a necessity." --Houston Chronicle

"Serious, amusing, probing, sometimes frightening, and always literate." --Los Angeles Times 
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Vintage (March 31, 1992)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0679734163
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0679734161
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.16 x 0.58 x 7.96 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 409 ratings

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Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. The author of more than a dozen previous books, he lives in Durham, North Carolina, and Arrowsic, Maine.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
409 global ratings

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gethinb
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. And badly out of date.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 27, 2019
2 people found this helpful
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Drawingboard82
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a book for engineers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 9, 2020
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andrea c.
5.0 out of 5 stars if you work in engineering sectors I really recommend it. It gives you a clear picture also ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 18, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 21, 2017
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Roger Johansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 30, 2020