[download To Forgive Design] PDF By Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski í 3 summary

S bridge collapse and the toppling of a massive Shanghai apartment building in 2009 to Boston’s prolonged Big Dig and the 2010 Gulf oil spill These avoidable disasters reveal the interdependency of people and machines within systems whose complex behavior was undreamt of by their designers until it was too late Petroski shows that even the simplest technology is embedded in cultural and socioeconomic constraints complications and contradictionsFailure t The case studies presented have been discussed elsewhere in comparable detail with similar conclusions Aside from the author s tales of his own past there was little in the way of original insight

free download To Forgive Design

To Forgive Design

O imagine the possibility of failure is the most profound mistake engineers can make Software developers realized this early on and looked outside their young field to structural engineering as they sought a historical perspective to help them identify their own potential mistakes By explaining the interconnectedness of technology and culture and the dangers that can emerge from complexity Petroski demonstrates that we would all do well to follow their le I like it because it is a non fiction book I appreciate the thorough explanations about metal fatigue testing strength of building materials and intended planned failure That was something I never thought of For instance crackers stamps and chocolate bars are perforated to break easily when a certain force is applied I had not previously thought of this concept A sprinkling system in case of fire has a thermo sensitive device that breaks when the air around it reaches the design activation temperature of the individual sprinkler Then the water starts flowing That is the intended design failure of the design Sometimes a component must fail in order for the larger system to succeed I don t particularly LIKE the narrator but I don t hate him either He is a bit annoying I noticed in Henry s last book To Engineer is Human that there is a sort of rivalry between physicists and engineers I have actually seen something similar when my old Science Methods teacher at the U had some disdain for applied science This does not indicate that the university s proud physicists have any less of a sense universality of purpose or of superiority over their engineer colleagues than physicists everywhere This line from the book says it all Reading about the horrible Challenger and Columbus failures the bridge disasters etc was fascinating Getting to the root of the problem understanding how to fix it for next time that s so important It reuires real investment of time as well as open minds There are so many variables around a plan crash a bridge collapse a chemical spill one must be open to learning from it and not decide what happened before investigating One of my favorite premises from the book is about the Titanic The Titanic was the most spectacular the best ship of its time If it had not hit an iceberg how many other ships would have been made to the same specifications before another hit an iceberg or a dock or another ship and exposed the weak area in the design Awesome book I will be reading by this author

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When planes crash bridges collapse and automobile gas tanks explode we are uick to blame poor design But Henry Petroski says we must look beyond design for causes and corrections Known for his masterly explanations of engineering successes and failures Petroski here takes his analysis a step further to consider the larger context in which accidents occurIn To Forgive Design he surveys some of the most infamous failures of our time from the 2007 Minneapoli And I thought I understood failure Boy how I understood failure I thought I had mastered it but evidently there is so much to experience It must be difficult to edit a book on a technical subject written by an expert Perhaps the editor doesn t want to intervene forcefully at the risk of removing technical detail or of interfering with the message This book solidly deserves four stars but it meanders and is freuently repetitive The author often restates exactly the same thing and can be laborious in doing so The strength of the book is the review of significant engineering and design failures The author s objective is promote critical analysis and thereby prevent repeated mistakes Many of these passages are excellent and very well written In this way some themes are developed uoting from Walker and Sibley s survey of construction failures the author points outwhen the first example of a technologically advanced structure was built great care and research went into its design and construction But as the new design concept was used again and again confidence grew to complacency and contempt for possible technical difficulties Testing was considered unnecessarily expensive and so it was dispensed with But in each case the design was steadily modified and the changes not understood until a previously ignored second order effect dominated and the structure collapsedOther similar and related aspects of design and construction failure are explored The general conclusion is set out in the final pageit is the nature of the human and technological condition that until incontrovertible failures do occur there is a tendency even among designers who should know better to think that the technology has been masteredEarlier the author notes that to design is to make decisions and all decisions are compromises This theme is not explored with sufficient vigor To my mind all construction entails a myriad of ualities and objectives Decisions must be made about their relative importance and a range of outcome goals A bridge may allow people to pass an obstruction directly and easily perhaps saving time and money It can also involve other impacts and considerations like wildlife habitat or varying economic flows Construction can fail partially or completely in a number of these dimensions it is a uestion of what we measure and how Clearly the collapse or catastrophic failure of a structure is noteworthy and particularly tragic when it entails the loss of life and injury And yet these endeavors are significantly complex and their lifespans long Bungled design like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is distinguishable from others where a structure survived long and was put to good use Even mountains crumble Human efforts will always involve aspiration unknowns varying degrees of success and chance That concoction will lead to failure for sure The book s central theme that failure is a topic worthy of study and should be central to an education and practice in engineering is given an effective voice supported by detailed and interesting case studies The book can drag at times but is definitely worth reading


10 thoughts on “To Forgive Design

  1. says:

    This book is a combination memoir and history of design failures From the patterns developed by the relationship between failures and the striving for economical design the author draws conclusions regarding the dangers that can eme

  2. says:

    I got this from the library with the intent of gleaning a few tidbits for a class assignment I ended up reading the whole thing and not using any tidbits The book gives good historical accounts of several engineering catastrophes and their human interfaces while highlighting the value of failure

  3. says:

    And I thought I understood failure Boy how I understood failure I thought I had mastered it but evidently there is so much to experience It must be difficult to edit a book on a technical subject written by an expert Perhaps the editor doesn'

  4. says:

    This is an engaging although lengthy read I admit I resorted to skimming through much of the book since I got it from the library and only have so much time However the central premise of the book is clearly true studying failure should be a never ending activity for engineers and those involved in management of engineeri

  5. says:

    The case studies presented have been discussed elsewhere in comparable detail with similar conclusions Aside from the author's tales of his own past there was little in the way of original insight

  6. says:

    While this book was written for engineers I who am NOT an engineer still found it thought provoking entertaining and informative Petroski is particularly good at interdisciplinary thinking which makes this book useful for anyone who is willing to slog through the little bits of insider writing about Engineering campuses and practices in order to mine the gold about what failure could and should teach us

  7. says:

    I like it because it is a non fiction book I appreciate the thorough explanations about metal fatigue testing strength of building materials and intended planned failure That was something I never thought of For instance crackers stamps and chocolate bars are perforated to break easily when a certain force is applied I had not previously thought of this concept A sprinkling system in case of fire has a thermo sensitive device that breaks

  8. says:

    Reading this made me appreciate that things don't fail often than they do A bridge or space shuttle or parking garage or de icing boot on an airplane is a complex system it may have been built with redundant safety tolerances but one shoddy mat

  9. says:

    Numerous good accounts of why we need to break the taboo that holds that failure has nothing to teach us other th

  10. says:

    Petroski starts out strong with numerous descriptions in rapid succession of structural concrete related failures highlighting the underlying non obvious causes It was a pleasant and confidence building beginning And overall I was impressed The

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