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Success through Failure:
The Paradox of Design
Henry Petroski

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"This is a book about human nature in design settings and its role in the development of products and our built environment. . . . Ingenuity is explored as a pendulum that swings between success and failure, driven by design philosophy and practices in a given place and time."--Library Journal

"From ancient Roman engineers dismayed at the failure of stone-arch bridges to twenty-first-century American architects stunned by the collapse of the Twin Towers, designers have frequently learned valuable principles through hard tutelage. Lucid and concise, this study invites nonspecialists to share in the challenge of trial-and-error engineering."--Bryce Christensen, Booklist

"Petroski tells iconic tales to demonstrate that mistakes are not obnoxious by-products of innovation but fundamental clues to the ideal."--Fast Company

"[An] engaging and readable book. . . . Petroski uses countless interesting case histories to show how failure motivates technological advancement. . . . I recommend you keep a copy of Petroski's book on hand and flip through it next time you're feeling seduced by success."--Steven Cass, IEEE Spectrum


"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

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File created: 4/21/2017

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