Buckminster Fuller

The Actions and Legacies of a Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Scientist


I'd like to introduce myself as the world's most successful failure.
R. Buckminster Fuller

Fuller at the drafting table, sketched by his wife Anne
Fuller at the drafting table,
sketched by his wife Anne

In 1922, Richard Buckminster Fuller had lost all hope. He and his wife Anne lost their young daughter Alexandra to polio. He started drinking and contemplating suicide, feeling responsible for her death. "It was jump or think." He claimed he was "a throwaway", not realizing his potential. Buckminster Fuller revolutionized the standards of excellence for environmentally-friendly, cost-effective engineering and design.

Fuller pilots the U.S.S. Ketch Argo, 1917
Fuller pilots the
U.S.S. Ketch Argo

Fuller joined the Navy in 1917. There, he learned about global communications, air travel, and logistics. Connecting his experience to reality became the root of his philosophy and inventions.

From 1922 to 1927, Fuller's life changed rapidly. He resigned from the Navy and founded a business selling buildings. Investors later forced him out of his own failing business. He felt little incentive to get a new career after his first one was ruined. He convinced himself that he could make a positive difference in the world and his goals became the development of what he termed "Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science," a vision for providing "more and more life support for everybody, with less and less resources".

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