"Rich and readable...personal, witty and ironic." -- Scientific American . For anyone who has ever wondered why suspension bridges don't collapse under eight lanes of traffic, how dams hold back-or give way under-thousands of gallons of water, or what principles guide the design of a skyscraper or a kangaroo, this book will ease your anxiety and answer your questions. J. E. Gordon strips engineering of its confusing technical terms, communicating its founding principles in accessible, witty prose.
As someone who has always been fascinated by engineered structures - particularly a big fan of bridges - but with no understanding of engineering at all, I thought this would be the perfect book to explain the mysteries of structures to the absolute novice.
And the book pretty much delivers.
The author has a very conversational way of writing often veering into passages of gossip - as in the bad relations between Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton - but this does have relevance, and in building a picture of the people and the times it gives context and helps explain the science in a very unscientific manner.
The sketches and photos throughout the book illustrate wonderfully some very mathematic concepts that I would otherwise have trouble comprehending.
Only occasionally I would have to take a break to allow my brain to digest some of the complex theories.
It is a book you could read cover to cover, or flip through at random and discover random insights into everyday principles of design.
Though written simply, it is not condescending - the author doesn't talk down to his audience, but explains sophisticated ideas in a witty and palatable manner.
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