It's Raining Books Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing



On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$7.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse History of Science- Technology

Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design

by

Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Henry Petroski, "America's poet laureate of technology" (Kirkus Reviews) author of The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things — now gives us an entertaining and perceptive study of design in everyday life, while revealing the checkered pasts, and some possible futures, of familiar objects.

Chairs, lightbulbs, cup holders, toothbrushes, doorknobs, light switches, potato peelers, paper bags, duct tape — as ubiquitous as these may be, they are still works in progress. The design of such ordinary items demonstrates the simple brilliance of human creativity, while at the same time showing the frustration of getting anything completely right. Nothing's perfect, and so the quest for perfection continues to continue.

In this engrossing and insightful book, Petroski takes us inside the creative process by which common objects are invented and improved upon in pursuit of the ever-elusive perfect thing. He shows us, for instance, how the disposable paper cup became a popular commercial success only after the public learned that shared water glasses could carry germs; how it took years, an abundance of business panache, and many discarded models — from cups that opened like paper bags to those that came with pleats — for the inventor of the paper cup to arrive at what we now use and toss away without so much as a thought for its fascinating history.

A trenchant, surprising evaluation of why some designs succeed and others don't, Small Things Considered is also an utterly delightful study of human nature.

Review:

"The writing is engaging and approachable, and reading the book feels like sitting down for a long chat with that favorite uncle who seems to know a bit about everything." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Small Things Considered provides all sorts of penetrating and broadly interesting insights." Scientific American

Review:

"[W]ho'd have thought the genesis of those imperfect things would be so fascinating?" Kirkus Reviews

Book News Annotation:

Even everyday objects that most people never think of as having been designed, says Petroski (civil engineering and history, Duke U.), remain works in progress. He points out that objects change with age and use, people change in their needs and wants, and the environment changes, so no design is more than an approximation for a particular time, place, and purpose. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

"America's poet laureate of technology" (Kirkus Reviews) — author of The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things — now offers an entertaining and perceptive study of the checkered design pasts, and futures, of everyday objects. 22 illustrations.

About the Author

Henry Petroski, the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University, lives in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of ten previous books.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400040506
Author:
Petroski, Henry
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York
Subject:
Engineering - General
Subject:
Engineering - Mechanical
Subject:
Engineering design
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
107-5
Publication Date:
September 2003
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.50x6.58x1.14 in. 1.36 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Made to Break: Technology and... Used Hardcover $10.95
  2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas...
    Used Hardcover $13.95
  3. Electric Universe: How Electricity...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  4. Why Things Bite Back: Technology and... Used Trade Paper $5.95
  5. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration...
    Used Hardcover $1.95
  6. Our Own Devices: The Past and Future... Used Hardcover $2.50

Related Subjects

Engineering » Mechanical Engineering » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400040506 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The writing is engaging and approachable, and reading the book feels like sitting down for a long chat with that favorite uncle who seems to know a bit about everything."
"Review" by , "Small Things Considered provides all sorts of penetrating and broadly interesting insights."
"Review" by , "[W]ho'd have thought the genesis of those imperfect things would be so fascinating?"
"Synopsis" by , "America's poet laureate of technology" (Kirkus Reviews) — author of The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things — now offers an entertaining and perceptive study of the checkered design pasts, and futures, of everyday objects. 22 illustrations.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.