Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thingby Henry Petroski
Pub. Date: 09/28/1998
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
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® 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.
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Table of Contents
Paper Clips and Design
Pencil Points and Analysis
Zippers and Development
Aluminum Cans and Failure
Facsimile and Networks
Airplanes and Computers
Water and Society
Bridges and Politics
Buildings and Systems
References and Further Reading
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Invention by Design was a great informational book and I felt as though it was written nicely. I was interested thoughout the book except I started to get bored in the middle of certain chapters. Although the vocabulary was difficult to comprehend at my personal level, I found this book great for people who think outside the box and are fasinated by how things work. (Taylor H.)
Invention by Design was probably the most interesting science-related book I have ever read. When I first began reading it, I was afraid that it was going to be incredibly boring; but the more I read, the more I started to enjoy it. Petroski pointed out the things we often overlook or would never care to think about - like the uniformity of paper clips and the origin of the word "Velcro". Also, Petroski's reflective and at times humorous writing style makes the book even more pleasurable to read. The book is comprised of "chapters" - each one revealing surprising and interesting facts about a different invention. In addition to discussing various inventions, Petroski also explains all of the factors that go into engineering and inventing - I never knew that it took so much "trial-and-error" in engineering. In each of the inventions discussed in the novel, Petroski describes a pattern that inventors, intellectuals, scientists, and engineers go through each time a new product is created - they not only have to come up with an idea, but they have to make sure it works; and if it doesn't they have to go back and fix it until it works. Overall the book was very enlightening and fun to read. I don't consider myself a "science person", but this was an outstanding book. I recommend it to anyone who is curious about engineering and invention.
Do you ever ask yourself who invented and how they invented paper clips? or zippers? or even Aluminum cans? Well..... in Invention by Design, Henry Petroski tells you everything you need to know. There are about 20 or more mini - biographies about the people who invented these items. The mini - biographies give an insight on why and how these items were built. There are so many details on the paper clip! The author uses diction that is commonly used and is not difficult to understand. He makes sure that everyone can read the book at all levels in brain development. Students will be amused with his unexpected sarcasm. Genenral readers will be content because all of the information keeps you interested and professionals wil enjoy the book because it puts them inside the inventors mind. The paper clip is so complicated in its making. Who would have ever known? Henry Petroski did great research and thorough at that. There are facts that only this book has. It is as though he was there. The book also discusses the politics about things being produced, such as bridges. There is also information about the machines that were invented to create the items so that they do not have to be created by hand which increases the amount of items produced. The machines helped industrialize cities and towns that make there lives off of certain items. Invention by Design is a great read. It is inspirational, it is amusing, and it is a great history lesson.
Do you ever ask yourself about the things that we humans take for granted? Do you ever wonder how the paperclip got to be the perfect shape for holding paper? Well this is the book for you! This book is perfect for the rising engineer, inventor or enthusiast. It talks about the evolution of the perfect designs we have today like the paperclip, the tin can, the pencil, and many different types of bridges. Petroski doesn't just tell you who made them; the book is filled with blueprints of the machines, pictures, diagrams and more. When he talks about the pencil, he talks about the mistakes previously made and shows how those mistakes help make the new prototypes better. It also shows how much work goes into making little things like tin cans. The tried attempts, and the epic fails. It also helps people understand the formal thought process of engineering. Also do you like bridges, if so, there is a huge section filled with the processes of bridge making. Its filled with blueprints and biographies of people who make bridges like the golden gate, and the reasons for the crash of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. I can also serve as a guide to make your own models of these historic prototypes. If you like anything boring, then this book is certainly not for you. You'll never be able to put it down. Whatever the way, this book will certainly change the way you think about the simple designs we use every day.