To Forgive Design
- Understanding Failure
- Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
- Length: 13 hrs and 30 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 12-05-14
- Language: English
- Publisher: Audible Studios
In To Forgive Design he surveys some of the most infamous failures of our time, from the 2007 Minneapolis 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 undreamed 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 contradictions.
Failure to 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 lead.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By GoingGoingGone... on 04-05-18
Great, for structural and civil engineers
I came to the book as a designer, but the real audience is structural and civil engineers. There are brief dustings of other areas that show how design hubris can impact on other designed systems such as software programming and financial, and surely if you do your own heavy lifting you can take these lessons and apply them, but if you’re looking for this broader discussion you may wish to turn to a different book.
By jd_phd on 22-02-18
poor audio quality, good treatise
the book content was interesting, however the poorly quantized audio stream made connection to the material difficult. I enjoyed the consideration of failure cycles being connected to engineering generations. Petroski gives ample consideration to design's hand in failure and subsequent analyses. I will likely re-read in the future.