4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2010
You don't need to be an engineer to enjoy this book. Petroski is a skillful author who conveys in a lucid style the risks and challenges of engineering and innovation. But the lessons from this book go much further and are applicable to any technological activity and any field of innovation.
For me, the two principle lessons from the book were: absence of failure is not proof of safety, and it is only the study of failure that can lead to better performance. This is not only true of technology but also of human performance, complex systems and management.
A fantastic book that is a constant inspiration.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2011
When I decided I wanted to do engineering, the first things I ruled out were chemical engineering and civil engineering. Since there's not an awful lot of this type of engineering book on the market (particularly from aerospace engineers), I wound up reading these to give myself a bit of background for uni interviews.
They were amazing. Genuinely, I thought they'd be really dull, but Petroski has a stunning style and a way of making engineering accessible to those who aren't quite there yet. His analogies, whilst he spread them over numerous fields, had a reasonable focus on civil engineering, and I gained a new respect for the field -- in fact, given the opportunity to reapply, I might even consider applying for civil.
Petroski explains things in a way I feel a good engineer should explain. You gain an appreciation of what an engineer's take on design and failure is, and are suitably entertained throughout.
I'd HIGHLY recommend this book, and many of Petroski's others.