Book Review: Set Phasers on Stun by Steven Casey
Originally posted on 17 Feb 2023
- Title: Set Phasers on Stun, and other true tales of design, technology, and human error (second edition)
- Author: Steven Casey
- Year: 1998
A while back I did a deep dive into failure, reading everything I could get my hands on about why things failed. It was a valuable education, and I got several talks out of it as well.
When I learned about this book I was positive I must’ve read it already during that deep dive, but now that I’ve finished it I’m not so sure. Several of these stories (not only the ones new to the second edition) were new to me. So perhaps I didn’t read it? It’s not listed in my bibliography from that time, so I must’ve misremembered.
Regardless, it’s an excellent book. The author presents each situation in story form, but does not include an analysis of the failure. Despite that, the stories always make it evident what design, procedural, and sometimes operator errors contributed to disaster. Reference and source material lists follow each story.
This book was a great read. I’m glad I got to it more than ten years after my initial deep dive. It reinforced and revived all that knowledge while adding to it in the process.