Invention by Design

Invention by Design

How Engineers Get From Thought to Thing

Book - 1996
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Henry Petroski's previous bestsellers have delighted readers with intriguing stories about the engineering marvels around us, from the lowly pencil to the soaring suspension bridge. In this book, Petroski delves deeper into the mystery of invention, to explore what everyday artifacts and sophisticated networks can reveal about the way engineers solve problems.

Engineering entails more than knowing the way things work. What do economics and ecology, aesthetics and ethics, have to do with the shape of a paper clip, the tab of a beverage can, the cabin design of a turbojet, or the course of a river? How do the idiosyncrasies of individual engineers, companies, and communities leave their mark on projects from Velcro#65533; to fax machines to waterworks? Invention by Design offers an insider's look at these political and cultural dimensions of design and development, production and construction.

Readers unfamiliar with engineering will find Petroski's enthusiasm contagious, whether the topic is the genesis of the Ziploc baggie or the averted collapse of Manhattan's sleekest skyscraper. And those who inhabit the world of engineering will discover insights to challenge their customary perspective, whether their work involves failure analysis, systems design, or public relations. Written with the flair that readers have come to expect from his books, Invention by Design reaffirms Petroski as the master explicator of the principles and processes that turn thoughts into the many things that define our made world.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1996.
ISBN: 9780674463684
9780674463677
0674463676
Branch Call Number: 620.0042/PETR
Characteristics: viii, 242 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.

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Feb 06, 2014

Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing --- by Henry Petroski. Henry Petroski, articulate practicing engineer has authored a number of books concerning engineering. Some tend to address the philosophy of his m├ętier and as a result tend to have a more difficult, less accessible tone to their work. This is less so the case with Invention. In this book, Petroski takes us from concept to finished product (is there ever such a thing?) from paper clips to sky scrapers; from pencils to airliners. His book holds you attention. It is almost never needlessly technical. His subjects are for the most part mundane, these are objects we can easily visualize: zippers, beer cans, and bridges: everyday objects without which everyday life just wouldn't be the same.

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