To Engineer is Human
The Role of Failure in Successful Design
“Though ours is an age of high technology, the essence of what engineering is and what engineers do is not common knowledge. Even the most elementary of principles upon which great bridges, jumbo jets, or super computers are built are alien concepts to many. This is so in part because engineering as a human endeavor is not yet integrated into our culture and intellectual tradition. And while educators are currently wrestling with the problem of introducing technology into conventional academic curricula, thus better preparing today’s students for life in a world increasingly technological, there is as yet no consensus as to how technological literacy can best be achieved. "
I believe, and I argue in this essay, that the ideas of engineering are in fact in our bones and part of our human nature and experience. Furthermore, I believe that an understanding and an appreciation of engineers and engineering can be gotten without an engineering or technical education. Thus I hope that the technologically uninitiated will come to read what I have written as an introduction to technology. Indeed, this book is my answer to the questions 'What is engineering?' and 'What do engineers do?'" - Henry Petroski, To Engineer is Human