The Evolution of Useful Things

Capa
Knopf, 1992 - 288 páginas
Only Henry Petroski, author of The Pencil, could make one never pick up a paper clip again without being overcome with feelings of awe and reverence. In his new book the author examines a host of techno-trivia questions - how the fork got its tines, why Scotch tape is called that, how the paper clip evolved, how the Post-it note came to be, how the zipper was named, why aluminum cans have hollow bottoms - and provides us with answers that both astonish and challenge the. In addition to an extended discussion of knives, forks, spoons, and other common devices, the author explains how the interplay of social and technical factors affects the development and use of such things as plastic bags, fast-food packaging, push-button telephones, and other modern conveniences. Throughout the book familiar objects serve to illustrate the general principles behind the evolution of all products of invention and engineering. Petroski shows by way of these examples as well as a probing look at the patent process, that the single most important driving force behind technological change is the failure of existing devices to live up to their promise. As shortcomings become evident and articulated, new and "improved" versions of artifacts come into being through long and involved processes variously known as research and development, invention, and engineering. He further demonstrates how the evolving forms of technology generally are altered by our very use of them, and how they, in turn, alter our social and cultural behavior.

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LibraryThing Review

Comentário do usuário  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

The blurbs are bad. One says 'delightful' - it certainly is not that. Neither mentions the author's thesis, which is that: Form does not follow function, it follows failure and fortune. I had to read ... Ler resenha completa

LibraryThing Review

Comentário do usuário  - MarthaJeanne - LibraryThing

On some of the issues it would be nice to have an update, but it is rare that a book on technology remains this readable after nearly 20 years. Ler resenha completa

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