Henry Petroski (February 6, 1942) is an American engineer specializing in failure analysis. A professor both of civil engineering and history at Duke University, he is also a prolific author. Petroski has written over a dozen books – beginning with To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (1985) and including a number of titles detailing the industrial design history of common, everyday objects, such as pencils, paper clips, and silverware. He is a frequent lecturer and a columnist for the magazines American Scientist and Prism. His most recently published book is To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure.