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Success Through Failure: The Paradox of Design

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Success Through Failure: The Paradox of Design  Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Design pervades our lives. Everything from drafting a PowerPoint presentation to planning a state-of-the-art bridge embodies this universal human activity. But what makes a great design? In this compelling and wide-ranging look at the essence of invention, distinguished engineer and author Henry Petroski argues that, time and again, we have built success on the back of failure--not through easy imitation of success.

Success through Failure shows us that making something better--by carefully anticipating and thus averting failure--is what invention and design are all about. Petroski explores the nature of invention and the character of the inventor through an unprecedented range of both everyday and extraordinary examples--illustrated lectures, child-resistant packaging for drugs, national constitutions, medical devices, the world's tallest skyscrapers, long-span bridges, and more. Stressing throughout that there is no surer road to eventual failure than modeling designs solely on past successes, he sheds new light on spectacular failures, from the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 and the space shuttle disasters of recent decades, to the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001.

Petroski also looks at the prehistoric and ancient roots of many modern designs. The historical record, especially as embodied in failures, reveals patterns of human social behavior that have implications for large structures like bridges and vast organizations like NASA. Success through Failure--which will fascinate anyone intrigued by design, including engineers, architects, and designers themselves--concludes by speculating on when we can expect the next major bridge failure to occur, and the kind of bridge most likely to be involved.

Synopsis:


Design pervades our lives. Everything from drafting a PowerPoint presentation to planning a state-of-the-art bridge embodies this universal human activity. But what makes a great design? In this compelling and wide-ranging look at the essence of invention, distinguished engineer and author Henry Petroski argues that, time and again, we have built success on the back of failure; not through easy imitation of success.

Success Through Failure shows us that making something better, by carefully anticipating and thus averting failure, is what invention and design are all about. Petroski explores the nature of invention and the character of the inventor through an unprecedented range of both everyday and extraordinary examples: illustrated lectures, child-resistant packaging for drugs, national constitutions, medical devices, the world's tallest skyscrapers, long-span bridges, and more. Stressing throughout that there is no surer road to eventual failure than modeling designs solely on past successes, he sheds new light on spectacular failures, from the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 and the space shuttle disasters of recent decades, to the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001.

Petroski also looks at the prehistoric and ancient roots of many modern designs. The historical record, especially as embodied in failures, reveals patterns of human social behavior that have implications for large structures like bridges and vast organizations like NASA. Success Through Failure, which will fascinate anyone intrigued by design, including engineers, architects, and designers themselves, concludes by speculating on when we can expect the next major bridge failure tooccur, and the kind of bridge most likely to be involved.

Synopsis:

"Success through Failure is an insightful and accessible foray into design. The book is a page-turner, with an intensity that builds as you read. I found myself waiting for discussions of various topics--from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the space shuttle--only to find them before me several pages later. A must-read for any design engineer, or anyone who wants to understand how great designs evolve."--Jonathan Cagan, coauthor of The Design of Things to Come and Creating Breakthrough Products

"This most readable book presents design from an engineer's point of view; its author is one of the masters of this approach. It will enrich engineers' understanding of their profession's heritage and tools, and help nonengineers see everything from slide shows to skyscrapers in new ways."--Edward Tenner, author of Our Own Devices and Why Things Bite Back

Synopsis:

Design pervades our lives. Everything from drafting a PowerPoint presentation to planning a state-of-the-art bridge embodies this universal human activity. But what makes a great design? In this compelling and wide-ranging look at the essence of invention, distinguished engineer and author Henry Petroski argues that, time and again, we have built success on the back of failure--not through easy imitation of success.

Success through Failure shows us that making something better--by carefully anticipating and thus averting failure--is what invention and design are all about. Petroski explores the nature of invention and the character of the inventor through an unprecedented range of both everyday and extraordinary examples--illustrated lectures, child-resistant packaging for drugs, national constitutions, medical devices, the world's tallest skyscrapers, long-span bridges, and more. Stressing throughout that there is no surer road to eventual failure than modeling designs solely on past successes, he sheds new light on spectacular failures, from the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 and the space shuttle disasters of recent decades, to the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001.

Petroski also looks at the prehistoric and ancient roots of many modern designs. The historical record, especially as embodied in failures, reveals patterns of human social behavior that have implications for large structures like bridges and vast organizations like NASA. Success through Failure--which will fascinate anyone intrigued by design, including engineers, architects, and designers themselves--concludes by speculating on when we can expect the next major bridge failure to occur, and the kind of bridge most likely to be involved.

About the Author

Henry Petroski is Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University. He is the author of "To Engineer Is Human" (Vintage), and was the writer and presenter of the BBC television documentary of the same title. His many other books on engineering and design include "The Pencil" (Knopf), "The Evolution of Useful Things" (Vintage), and "Small Things Considered" (Vintage).

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: From Plato’s Cave to PowerPoint 10

Chapter 2: Success and Failure in Design 44

Chapter 3: Intangible Things 81

Chapter 4: Things Small and Large 97

Chapter 5: Building on Success 116

Chapter 6: Stepping-stones to Super-spans 139

Chapter 7: The Historical Future 163

Notes 195

Index 219

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691136424
Author:
Petroski, Henry
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Industrial Design - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Civil
Subject:
Applied Science and Engineering
Subject:
Physics
Subject:
Mathematics
Subject:
Mathematics and science
Subject:
hysics
Subject:
Science Reference-Technology
Subject:
Popular science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
March 2008
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
15 line illus.
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in 13 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Style and Design
Engineering » Civil Engineering » General
Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Reference » Science Reference » Patents and Inventions
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

Success Through Failure: The Paradox of Design Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691136424 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Design pervades our lives. Everything from drafting a PowerPoint presentation to planning a state-of-the-art bridge embodies this universal human activity. But what makes a great design? In this compelling and wide-ranging look at the essence of invention, distinguished engineer and author Henry Petroski argues that, time and again, we have built success on the back of failure; not through easy imitation of success.

Success Through Failure shows us that making something better, by carefully anticipating and thus averting failure, is what invention and design are all about. Petroski explores the nature of invention and the character of the inventor through an unprecedented range of both everyday and extraordinary examples: illustrated lectures, child-resistant packaging for drugs, national constitutions, medical devices, the world's tallest skyscrapers, long-span bridges, and more. Stressing throughout that there is no surer road to eventual failure than modeling designs solely on past successes, he sheds new light on spectacular failures, from the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 and the space shuttle disasters of recent decades, to the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001.

Petroski also looks at the prehistoric and ancient roots of many modern designs. The historical record, especially as embodied in failures, reveals patterns of human social behavior that have implications for large structures like bridges and vast organizations like NASA. Success Through Failure, which will fascinate anyone intrigued by design, including engineers, architects, and designers themselves, concludes by speculating on when we can expect the next major bridge failure tooccur, and the kind of bridge most likely to be involved.

"Synopsis" by ,

"Success through Failure is an insightful and accessible foray into design. The book is a page-turner, with an intensity that builds as you read. I found myself waiting for discussions of various topics--from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the space shuttle--only to find them before me several pages later. A must-read for any design engineer, or anyone who wants to understand how great designs evolve."--Jonathan Cagan, coauthor of The Design of Things to Come and Creating Breakthrough Products

"This most readable book presents design from an engineer's point of view; its author is one of the masters of this approach. It will enrich engineers' understanding of their profession's heritage and tools, and help nonengineers see everything from slide shows to skyscrapers in new ways."--Edward Tenner, author of Our Own Devices and Why Things Bite Back

"Synopsis" by , Design pervades our lives. Everything from drafting a PowerPoint presentation to planning a state-of-the-art bridge embodies this universal human activity. But what makes a great design? In this compelling and wide-ranging look at the essence of invention, distinguished engineer and author Henry Petroski argues that, time and again, we have built success on the back of failure--not through easy imitation of success.

Success through Failure shows us that making something better--by carefully anticipating and thus averting failure--is what invention and design are all about. Petroski explores the nature of invention and the character of the inventor through an unprecedented range of both everyday and extraordinary examples--illustrated lectures, child-resistant packaging for drugs, national constitutions, medical devices, the world's tallest skyscrapers, long-span bridges, and more. Stressing throughout that there is no surer road to eventual failure than modeling designs solely on past successes, he sheds new light on spectacular failures, from the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 and the space shuttle disasters of recent decades, to the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001.

Petroski also looks at the prehistoric and ancient roots of many modern designs. The historical record, especially as embodied in failures, reveals patterns of human social behavior that have implications for large structures like bridges and vast organizations like NASA. Success through Failure--which will fascinate anyone intrigued by design, including engineers, architects, and designers themselves--concludes by speculating on when we can expect the next major bridge failure to occur, and the kind of bridge most likely to be involved.

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