An Incomprehensive Bibliography

Written: 2015-07-24

This is an incomprehensive bibliography for the books and articles that have influenced my thinking around Instrumentation by Default for complex systems. As this is an area of ongoing personal research, this bibliography is necessarily a vague snapshot.


The following texts are sorted—roughly—in order of importance:

  • Charles Perrow, "Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies" review
  • Joseph Tainter, "The Collapse of Complex Societies"
  • Henry David Thoreau, generally
  • David A. Mindell, "Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight" review

The following texts are sorted—precisely—as they occurred to me:

  • Charles Perrow, "Complex Organizations: A Critical Essay"
  • Svetlana Alexievich, "Voices from Chernobyl"
  • Henry S.F. Cooper Jr., "Thirteen: The Apollo Flight that Failed"
  • David E. Hoffman, "The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy"
  • Igor Kostin, "Chernobyl: Confessions of a Reporter"
  • William Vollmann, "Europe Central"
  • Kurt Vonnegut, "Player Piano"
  • Various, "Report of the PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident"
  • Richard Feynman, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman"
  • Eric Schlosser, "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety"
  • Hermann Kopetz, "Real-Time Systems: Design Principles for Distributed Embedded Applications"
  • Various, "The Practice of Programming"
  • Deepwater Horizon Study Group, "Final Report on the Investigation of the Macondo Well Blowout"
  • Various, "Library of American: The Debate on the Constitution I & II"
  • Sanora Babb, "Whose Names are Unknown"
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation, "Joint Strike Fighter Air Vehicle C++ Coding Standards"


  • Joe Armstrong, "Making Reliable Distributed Systems in the Presence of Software Errors"
  • C. West Churchman, "'Guest Editorial' of Management Science (Vol. 14, No. 4, December 1967)"
  • G. H. Hardy, "A Mathematician's Apology"

On Deck

There are several texts that I haven't gotten a chance to read yet. I can't vouch for them with complete confidence, but I'm excited to read them.

  • Czeslaw Milosz, "The Captive Mind"
  • Francis Spufford, "Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin"
  • Samuel C. Florman, "The Existential Pleasures of Engineering"