An Engineer's Alphabet: Gleanings from the Softer Side of a Profession
© 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers. This is an excerpt from Henry Petroski's newest book, which will be published this month by Cambridge University Press. As Petroski writes in the preface, "this abecedarium is one engineer's collection of thoughts, quotations, anecdotes, facts, trivia, arcana, and miscellanea relating to the practice, history, culture, and traditions of his profession. The entries, which represent the distillation of decades of reading, writing, talking, and thinking about engineers and engineering, range from brief essays on concepts and practices that are central to the profession to lists of its great achievements. This book is at the same time an anthology, a commonplace book, and a reference volume. It is not intended to be read from first page to last, but rather is meant to be dipped into here and there as the mood strikes the reader, with the alphabetical arrangement promoting serendipity."
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