Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies
Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk--complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling--this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them.
The first edition fulfilled one reviewer's prediction that it "may mark the beginning of accident research." In the new afterword to this edition Perrow reviews the extensive work on the major accidents of the last fifteen years, including Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Challenger disaster. The new postscript probes what the author considers to be the "quintessential 'Normal Accident'" of our time: the Y2K computer problem.
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Review: Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk TechnologiesUser Review - Phil - Goodreads
"Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir." - Dr Strangelove. This book is a brilliant combination of history, engineering, psychology, and ... Read full review
Review: Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk TechnologiesUser Review - Forrest Horton - Goodreads
Perrow (a Yale professor) makes an interesting argument about inherent risk involved with complex systems. Unfortunately, this book seems terribly out-of-date; without analysis of our advanced computer technologies, this book might as well be obsolete. Read full review
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