Book: The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist

Another book on design, but this one emphasizes the actual practice of design and how to make it better. The first two-thirds or so is just excellent. Brooks’s contention is that the best designs always come from either a single designer or (at most) two designers working very closely together. The reason is that the quality most important to a great design is conceptual integrity, an attribute that “design by committee” can never achieve. But design reviews are best done by multitudes, bringing many different perspectives to bear.

The last third of the book is a compendium of case studies. A few, like the design of IBM’s S/360 mainframe computer, are interesting to a computer geek like myself for their historical value. But others, like the design of the Brooks family beach house, are quite frankly boring. But no matter, the good parts are well worth the price.

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