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The Systems Bible: The Beginner's Guide to Systems Large and Small [Paperback]

John Gall
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: General Systemantics Pr/Liberty (Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961825170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961825171
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 570,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought the book to better understand the modes of failure of the complex systems I work with. I've come away with some generally-applicable cautionary principles and other cautionary anecdotes.

I understand this is the third edition or so, and that the book has expanded considerably from the original, with a lot of the same material referenced in different forms in the appendixes.

I have a feeling that I'll have to write my own few pages of summary to really extract the knowledge I need from it though.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for anyone who designs systems 31 Aug 2009
By Chris Weber - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book. Somewhat tongue in check.

For those of us that work on (or in) system, this is a must read book.

You'll understand why the Federal government and computer systems work the way they do.

After reading this, every time a colleague complained about a system (computer or otherwise) I'd just smile and think of something I read in this book. System's have their own behaviors and own rules.

Reading this book will help you understand the trade-offs of systems.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential to Understand our World 3 Oct 2011
By Leonardo Wild - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first found a copy of Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail. It was the first edition of The Systems Bible. If you wonder why the world cannot be fixed by creating more systems, this book is for you. Even if you haven't wondered, this book is still for everyone who likes to ask questions and wants clear answers. In short, the system does not do what the systems says it's doing, and reality is what is being reported to the system. Clear insights like these allow you to recognize the absurdity of so many things we take for granted. What's more, this book brings it to you with a great sense of humor, in itself a vehicle to open up to John Gall's geniality in analyzing our castle of cards.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I still have the First Edition 13 Jan 2013
By Michael Rathbun - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Gall's Systemantics was first presented to me back in 1976; at the time it slowly dawned on me that this was much more than a transitory volume of humor. Subsequent experience (and 2.5 subsequent editions) have proven it to be a treasury of wisdom. If you glean nothing more than "The system tends to oppose its own proper function" therefrom, you will have gotten your money's worth.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh perspective on systems theory, and fun too! 25 Oct 2011
By John Renesch - "The Great Growing Up" - Published on
In this book, author John Gall creates a tongue-in-cheek approach to systems behavior that is refreshing, eye-opening and a delightful respite from the usual academic or mechanistic perspectives that have overwhelmed our literature on the subject since 1990 when Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline became a bestseller.

I first read it in the early 1990s as "Systemantics," which is no longer available under that title. The author has added to it substantially and changed the title (which I wish he hadn't done) but it is still a light-hearted review of all those dysfunctional systems upon which we continue to rely. God bless them all!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory reading for all students of the Engineering professions... 23 Nov 2013
By Andrew H. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Absolutely the last word in Systems Thinking. Building is just the start...understanding how/why something will fail not only broadens your perspective of the task, but help to fine-tune the work as you go along.

Good examples with handy mnemonics. Deep wisdom that will leave you thinking for years to come.

I have had the first two editions (originally published as "Systemantics") and it has been like a career guidebook to recognizing the pitfalls and simple stupidity that is now the hallmark of modern American business, and really any human-made system ever made.

It's as if a conference room full of engineering professors have a few drinks to discuss Alfred Korzybski's "Science & Sanity" and Ludwig von Bertalanffy's "General Systems Theory" and wind up dishing the dirty secrets of their beloved bailiwick.
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