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The Fifth Discipline, the Art & Practice of the Learning Organization [Japanese] [Hardcover]

Peter M. Senge
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Currency; Later Printing edition (1990)
  • ASIN: B000NY81VS
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,779,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Senge definitively is an inspriring writer, and in that sense I did like th Fifth Discipline and the accompanying handbook. If its sole purpose would be to introduce people to looking at what they are doing from a more holistic perspective , I must say, he has succeeded really well. But, in my view, he could have done that in a few chapters in stead of writing two massive books on it. Those books suggest 'control'.
I do see a fundamental flaw, though. All his balancing and reinforcing feed back loops are probably helping, but they remind me too much of Ptolemeic epicircles, explaining everything. We have rejected those long ago. I think there is a fundamental difference between systems thinking and what I call 'complexity thinking'. Complexity thinking, or perhaps even better 'complicity thinking' (Cohen and Stewart), looks at emerging simplicities and (sadly) the inherent impossibility to control them. How do I recognise these patterns? Via feed back loops? Which?
Senge does hit a few nice notes with me, and he certainly goes a lot further than many others but concepts of 'living companies' (also Arie de Geus) and 'fieldbooks' sound a bit too 'consulty' to me.
I recommend everyone to read books like 'Striking a Balance' (Roos and Oliver, 2000), 'The Soul at Work' (Lewin and Birute, 1999) and 'The Next Common Sense' (Lissack and Roos, 1999). If you really want a new approach, please read 'The Collaps of Chaos' (Cohen and Stewart, 1994) and start anew from there.
Don't expect a fieldbook, though, or a nice theory of everything.
Frank
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but perhaps too ambitious...? 17 Aug 2001
Format:Paperback
System thinking is an interesting concept. Some of the background theory draws upon feedback control theory. The author acknowledges this but still claims the novelty/originality of the approach, which is probably true in the field of management. However, system thinking should be taken with a great pinch of salt, as it is difficult to reconduct many of the intricacies of real life to series of feedback loops. Real life is largely "fuzzy" in nature - chaos theory, stochastic processes are examples of powerful approaches that try to deal with the enormous complexity of the real world phenomena, including macro/micro economics and business management.
The book is a bit overstretched in other areas (or "disciplines", e.g personal mastery, etc.), which have significantly less "staying power".
Perhaps a new edition of this book should include an assessment of the successes and failures of the approach. Some of the references to "real world" adopters of the book's principles and doctrines would be interesting. Quite a good presentation after all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. For these people, The Fifth Discipline is a wonderful gift. Our emotions tell us to do one thing, and that one thing is usually not in our own best interest. I had heard clients of mine talk about the beer game, and I was delighted to see it described in this book. For the average reader, this book will make you expert enough in systems thinking to be much more successful with your decisions. If you feel that you would like more help in this area, please read The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. It is a very helpful companion book that will give you practical advice for implementing what you learn in this book. If you have colleagues or friends who often make decisions that do not turn out well, it may be because they do not understand how to think about business as a system. Give them this book, and you will have done the person a great favor. Follow-up by discussing what they have learned, and help them with an exercise or two from the Fieldbook. You'll be glad you did. If you decide from reading The Fifth Discipline that you want to establish and maintain a learning organization, you must read The Dance of Change, which is remarkably good at helping you sustain improvements in your organization. For your personal decision-making, I also recommend Smart Choices.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. For these people, The Fifth Discipline is a wonderful gift.
Our emotions tell us to do one thing, and that one thing is usually not in our own best interest.
I had heard clients of mine talk about the beer game, and I was delighted to see it described in this book.
For the average reader, this book will make you expert enough in systems thinking to be much more successful with your decisions. If you feel that you would like more help in this area, please read The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. It is a very helpful companion book that will give you practical advice for implementing what you learn in this book. Follow that up with The Dance of Change which focuses on how to sustain a learning organization.
If you have colleagues or friends who often make decisions that do not turn out well, it may be because they do not understand how to think about business as a system. Give them this book, and you will have done the person a great favor. Follow-up by discussing what they have learned, and help them with an exercise or two from the Fieldbook. You'll be glad you did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A new way of thinking about business systems.
An excellent concept in business that has not been covered by other authors. A must read. Get it bought now!
Published 2 months ago by Marcos White
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good stuff
The book is in good shape and was delivered on time.
It is a very insightful book about the problems in implementing learning organizations, driving us into the causes and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ana
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
I bought this book using the Kindle app on my i-pad and was delighted at how easy and quick it was to do so.
Published 19 months ago by Mr. Andrew Simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a look for Systems Thinking
Most accessible book I've read on Systems Thinking so far. Good examples and narratives, generally pretty OK to relate to. Read more
Published 20 months ago by tsagars
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and interesting
The book is a nice introduction of systems thinking, but perhaps it would have benefitted from explaining the nature of systems theory in terms of differential equations. Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2011 by A reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning as an art
This is a great book, with a good many insights that are cross-cultural. I think the lessons can be applied to small as well as large organisations.
Published on 9 Aug 2011 by Chris J
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Introducing Systems Thinking to Business People!
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. Read more
Published on 30 May 2004 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarify your position in your world
The Fifth discipline saved my sanity as it illustrates that I have to monitor my intuitive impression of my position in my family, company and the world. Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2003 by Jos van Putte
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking Work - A Must Read for Every Business Thinker
For the "learning organization," success depends most on how well the organization thinks. Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2002
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