Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design It takes a certain kind of mind to get excited about the origins and development of the telephone keypad. A mind like that of Petroski,… Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design It takes a certain kind of mind to get excited about the origins and development of the telephone keypad. A mind like that of Petroski,… 2003-09-16 Nonfiction Science and Technology
Book Review

Small Things Considered (2003)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Sep 16, 2003; Writer: Henry Petroski; Genres: Nonfiction, Science and Technology

It takes a certain kind of mind to get excited about the origins and development of the telephone keypad. A mind like that of Petroski, the Duke engineering prof who brings his sizable wit and imagination to bear on the everyday items rendered invisible by their own ubiquity. Indeed, Petroski finds something significant in their insignificance. In a flat-bottomed grocery bag, he discovers an evolutionary history with its share of remarkable inventors and innovations. Tackling everything from supermarket layout to car cup-holders to even, yes, the kitchen sink, Petroski fashions a lucid and lively account of product engineering and design Darwinism as exciting as a brown paper bag.

Originally posted Sep 26, 2003 Published in issue #730 Sep 26, 2003 Order article reprints