Henry Petroski Quotes

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As engineers, we were going to be in a position to change the world - not just study it.

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All conventional wisdom has an element of truth to it, but good design requires more than an element of truth - it requires an ensemble of correct assumptions and valid calculations.

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Successful design is not the achievement of perfection but the minimization and accommodation of imperfection.

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You can almost say that a design error is a human error because, after all, it's we humans who do the designing.

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It seems to be a law of design that for every advantage introduced through redesign, there is an accompanying unintended disadvantage.

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Any design, whether it's for a ship or an airplane, must be done in anticipation of potential failures.

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Design is nothing if not decision making.

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Everything we do is designed, whether we're producing a magazine, a website, or a bridge. Design is really the creative invention that designs everything.

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I employ case studies of failure into my courses, emphasizing that they teach us much more than studies of success. It is not that success stories cannot serve as models of good design or as exemplars of creative engineering. They can do that, but they cannot teach us how close to failure they are.

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Henry Petroski

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