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You may know the architect Christopher Alexander from "A Pattern Language" and his influence on design patterns/agile.

Later in life he studied the organizing principles of nature and well-man-made artifacts and discussed the common patterns in his books "On the nature of order" [1]. The ideas are perhaps more grandiose than this author is discussing, but also very interesting when applied to engineering.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Order-Phenomenon-Environmental-...

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