It Looked Good on Paper: Bizarre Inventions, Design Disasters, and Engineering Follies by Bill Fawcett
Gathered in this book is a collection of flawed plans, half baked ideas, and downright ridiculous machines that, with the best and most optimistic intentions, men have constructed throughout history. Included are such military, scientific, commercial, and infrastructure disasters as: The Lead water pipes of Rome; Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse; Edison's electrical folly; Betamax; Concorde crash; Hubble - A $2 billion telescope that didn't work; the Mars probe failures due to simple math mistakes; Cold Fusion; and, Ford Pinto. Some failed spectacularly, others fizzled after great expense, and one crashed on Mars. While this is a book about ideas and things men make that have failed, it is not a technical manual. Rather it is a fun collection that shows how an otherwise brilliant designer, scientist, architect, or doctor can often spend years or millions creating something that a few small bits of common sense would have prevented.