W. L. Livingston Have Fun at Work

ISBN 13: 9780937063057

Have Fun at Work

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9780937063057: Have Fun at Work

The Design for Prevention addresses the issues of system design that comprise compliance to the various fitness-for-duty laws that apply to the professional engineer. Contemporaneous compliance to the fundamental canon of professional engineering holding paramount the health, safety and welfare of the stakeholders involves understanding the drivers of the institutional context at least as well as the technological challenge. The principles of engineering design respecting the legal Standard of Care are connected completely and scrutably to the laws of nature. The engineering principles derived directly from natural law do not need assistance from case histories and stories to support the theses. The Standard of Care is not based on particular empirical experience but on the verity that natural law is the law of all experience. The prime beneficiary of assimilating the Design for Prevention is the individual. No panacea is suggested for changing corporate culture. There are no obligations to promote beneficial change to the institution. By understanding the natural laws that take the lead in shaping which experience, the individual is empowered to make incontrovertible assessments of project status and of its future trajectory. Of all the professions, only the engineer is legally bound to deliver outcomes fit for service in the application. While he is not obliged to accept the engagement, when he does he takes responsibility for delivering on the mission profile. Responsibility for consequences always includes safeguarding the stakeholders. The book describes how this responsibility, unique to the engineering profession, is met by leveraging engineering principles. Outcome responsibility is always an amalgam of social system and technical system competency. The book describes how the same natural laws that determine technical system dynamics apply just as well to institutional behavior. The message in the book is that the principles that apply to engineering design apply to problem solving at any scale; to all institutional behavior past, present and future. Know the force that universal law brings into play and you can understand error-free why your operational reality acts as it does. Once acquired, this competency is self-validated all day, every day. It has inherited several natural law attributes including omnipresence. While the book is not a quick read, it is loaded with insights that serve well in the daily grind.

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About the Author:

William Livingston, is a professional engineer with four decades of experience designing complex engineered artifacts. He has over 100 patents as well as producing several books considering the challenges of responsible system design in the institutional setting. Included are The New Plague, Have Fun at Work, and Friends in High Places. Involved in the systems movement most of his career, Livingston has integrated several robust systems engineering principles to help the engineer-designer be effective with both the technological and social system challenges he must face. He continues to work in the arena of law and engineering, maintaining a Standard of Care that will prevail in legal proceedings.

Review:

I have often referred to William L. Livingston in my missives. He is the holder of some 100 patents, and the author of THE NEW PLAGUE (1985), FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES (1990), and HAVE FUN AT WORK (1988). I not only cherish these books, but have referred to them often in my missives and books. The gems they contain never seem to age. I am up to Section Five, and profited greatly for the attention. I know I am not your audience but, again, I find I am. While the society we have is a product of first principles and engineering acumen, it is and continues to be run by institutional infallibility with engineers sleeping on the grass. It is also true, with apologies to Dyson, an artist is a person with original ideas, which means he chooses intelligence to obedience, and, alas, the artist is also sleeping on the lawn admiring his mansion from afar. Finally, I was jolted when I read this line: "Infallibility is inseparable from human nature as a result of the human condition called self-awareness. Civilization cannot exist without it." The panoply of my cognitive biases lurched up and stopped me, literally so, as I was first pained by the statement, yes, awareness is powerful in my cognitive biases, and then I started to think how true the statement was. I found it greatly depressing. Eric Hoffer said we don't belong on this planet that it is a hostile planet to us and for reason, but we never get it. We retreat into our games, ignore Natural Law, and continued to be creamed by it. --James Fisher, PhD

The Design for Prevention is a practitioner s guide, a vade mecum for the professional engineer supporting his due diligence towards prevention-law compliance . This is the aim of William Livingston s masterwork and he achieves it with éclate. Sharply contrasting the worlds of institutions and those of the individual practitioners, he draws upon the rich resources of Systems Thinking and applies them in hard-hitting and challenging terms. In a world of exponentially increasing real and imagined threats; in a world where fear has become a major tool of social control, this Handbook has been too long delayed. Horses have long since bolted while stable doors are still being inched closed in the face of opposition from the ignorant and terrified. The practical abilities of engineers are buried and ignored by institutions whose sole objective is their own survival. Whereas the individual engineer has a publicly admitted duty of care for his fellow beings, institutions have no such concern, for their aims take no account of the human cost of their activities. This Handbook provides the recipe for the survival of the practical professional. The Handbook is offered to serve the needs of the professional engineer but it demands a much wider readership for it examines the interactions between the responsible individual and the supra-human entities that constrain and control him. My only criticism of this work is that it does not sufficiently illuminate the role of language in shaping those relationships. I think that Livingston does not illustrate adequately how easily the arcane and ambiguous rhetoric of institutions can pervert the rationality of the disciplined professional whose use of language is constrained by his training and experience. With this small qualification, I commend D4P to all who have the public interest at heart. You may know that I took my doctoral in cybernetics under Gordon Pask and examined by Stafford Beer - a quite surreal experience from which, I am glad to say, I never recovered! I mention this because he taught that looking for causes inside the Black Box is a futile activity. There are an infinite number of relationships between inputs that can give rise to particular outputs - we should just be watching the system to see how it behaves and how it could behave and forget causal descriptions Newton's 'hypotheses non fingo'. If we can determine the limits to the system's possible behaviour then we can engineer Ashby=variety to fit it. --Fenton Robb, PhD

Section 6 is a gem. You have nailed it to the wall. The rest of the book is fluff by comparison. As usual, it s not written in English but that is OK. Those who are willing to understand it already have experienced it. Those who won't understand it, aren't interested by design. The good old Rule driven Institution v Goal driven Skunkworks conflict. It s a wonderful review of the things I will have to keep straight in my upcoming dealings with the companies wanting my x-ray technology. --Lionell K. Griffith

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