Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well-written, clear-Start here!, 15 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Thinking in Systems: A Primer (Paperback)
This is where newcomers to systems thinking should start, no two ways about it. Donella and Diana layout a firm foundation for the field of systems thinking study; they cover the basics with fluidity and grace using an easy, straightforward style that I could grasp instantly.

The authors start by covering definitions of a system followed by feedback-reinforcing and balancing loops, moving into the systems zoo, systems traps (E.g tragedy of the commons, seeking the wrong target, success to the successful among others), leverage points and finishing with a mildly idealistic chapter on living with systems. An excellent Appendix summarising each chapter rounds out the book.

The authors tour systems thus:
* The Basics- A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoo
* Why Systems Work So Well
* System Traps and opportunities
* Leverage Points-Places to Intervene in a System
* Living in a World of Systems
* Appendix: Systems Definitions: A Glossary, Summary of Systems Principles, Spring the System Traps, Places to Intervene in a System, Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems, Model Equations, Notes, Bibliography.

I particularly liked the leverage points chapter, a chapter offered with some caution by the authors. It was such an eye opener and practical that I was able to apply the concepts to a client the following day with success, in this case the notion of changing the structure and the rules.

If you need to organise a business, design policy or simply have an interest in the way the world works and you have only just started out with systems-get this book.
If you have more advanced books that confuse a little right now, like I do, get this book.
If you have ever heard the term Systems Thinking and thought it difficult, get this book.

Personally I would also hand it to any GCSE Science students-none of whom would have a problem reading straight through it and understanding it.

This one I'll be lending my own colleagues!

Thanks to the authors for a fine job.

Please see my Listmania for other titles in this list-a beginner's list that this book is at the top of!
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