” I emphasize that virtually every engineering calculation is ultimately a failure calculation, because without a failure criterion against which to measure the calculated result, it is a meaningless number. “


” 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. “


” Case studies of failure should be made a part of the vocabulary of every engineer so that he or she can recall or recite them when something in a new design or design process is suggestive of what went wrong in the case study. “


” The paradox is that when we model future designs on past successes, we are inviting failure down the line, when we take into account past failures and anticipate potential new ways in which failure can occur, we are more likely to produce successful designs. “


” Failure is central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation. Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail. “



All 5 Henry Petroski Quotes about Failure in picture


I emphasize that virtually every engineering calculation is ultimately a failure calculation, because without a failure criterion against which to measure the calculated result, it is a meaningless number.
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.


Case studies of failure should be made a part of the vocabulary of every engineer so that he or she can recall or recite them when something in a new design or design process is suggestive of what went wrong in the case study.
The paradox is that when we model future designs on past successes, we are inviting failure down the line, when we take into account past failures and anticipate potential new ways in which failure can occur, we are more likely to produce successful designs.
Failure is central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation. Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail.
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