!!> Reading ➹ Thinking in Systems: a Primer ➱ Author Donella Meadows – Tactical-player.co.uk
Wow I heard this book was good, but its been unputdownable..From the perennial problem of managing drug addiction, to climate change and population growth you name it you will get an amazing, easy to follow, perspective on the zoo of different system types and the systems issues that follows..It helps you see clerkly why praising blaming individuals is so problematic and it also explains the Groundhog Day of things not getting fixed, even getting worse Its necessary for anyone who is really serious in effecting change in the issues of today Thinking In Systems Is A Concise And Crucial Book Offering Insight For Problem Solving On Scales Ranging From The Personal To The Global This Essential Primer Brings Systems Thinking Out Of The Realm Of Computers And Equations And Into The Tangible World, Showing Readers How To Develop The Systems Thinking Skills That Thought Leaders Across The Globe Consider Critical For St Century Life While Readers Will Learn The Conceptual Tools And Methods Of Systems Thinking, The Heart Of The Book Is Grander Than Methodology Donella Meadows Was Known As Much For Nurturing Positive Outcomes As She Was For Delving Into The Science Behind Global Dilemmas She Reminds Readers To Pay Attention To What Is Important, Not Just What Is Quantifiable, To Stay Humble And To Continue To Learn In A World Growing Ever Complicated, Crowded, And Interdependent, Thinking In Systems Helps Readers Avoid Confusion And Helplessness, The First Step Toward Finding Proactive And Effective Solutions A Vital Read For Students, Professionals And All Those Concerned With Economics, Business, Sustainability And The Environment A primer to systems thinking indeed I gave this book 5 stars not just because the contents are incredibly useful, but also because it reads as smoothly as any well written novel If you are interested in how the world works then you are in the right place But beware, unlike many others, this book offers no easy solutions Yet in its description of complexity, its admission of it s effing difficult , its many examples of how easy it is to get it wrong when trying to solve big, complex problems one does not find a sense of despair and futility of effort, no, one finds a sense of empowerment in understanding how everything relates to everything which is why it is so so difficult to design workable solutions without the systems view of the problem Mrs Meadows also does another thing she manages our expectations Even with the right tools and a hope that we indeed can successfully intervene in big, complex problems she makes it clear that it won t be easy, it won t take only a few weeks, we might not get it right the first three times and we might even make it worse before we improve anything It s okay though, because that is how it works Moving forward is a slow and difficult process, but thanks to Mrs Meadows we might be at least slightly confident that our effort is in the right direction Go read it. I had always considered myself to be a system thinker and had read many books on artificial life, chaos theory etc.But until now there was no book that I had read that formed a basis of how systems, in general, tied together This book provides that glue It covers a lot of ground and provides solid examples of how system thinking can, quite literally, change the world It covers areas such as oil production, politics, user of language and drug addiction in ways that are cohesive and informative It never provides just so stories that are unsupported and provide examples of simple systems from the systems zoo that explain why often those who influence systems end up pushing the wrong way and making things worse, even though they may have the best of intentions.I have so far recommended this book to five people all from different backgrounds and will be folding in what I have learnt here into my User Experience work. I recommend Thinking in Systems because it has changed the way I understand and relate to my world Published after Donella Meadow s death, it introduces Systems Thinking by way of definition, illustration and application.In Part 1, System Structure and Behaviour, Meadows uses two graphical tools to analyse systems stock and flow diagrams to show system structure and charts mapping stock or flow levels over time to explore system behaviour for specific scenarios The diagrams can be used to display balancing aka negative and reinforcing aka positive feedback loops, and the charts to explore how these might play out.While some of the systems might seem simplistic, they build up understanding of a key Systems Thinking insight, that systems generate their own behaviour And if you re ever wondered why the heroes and villains style of explanation only works in retrospect, this is a damn good explanation.Chapter two, The Zoo, is a library of common system structures and their behaviour Those of us from the software world will be reminded of a patterns library Again, these patterns illustrate a deeper insight, that systems with similar feedback structures produce similar dynamic behaviors, even if the outward appearance of these systems is completely dissimilar p 51 In Part 2, Systems and Us, Meadows applies Systems Thinking to our world Many of the examples are dated, but I found myself thinking how applicable these patterns and insights were to topics I was currently encountering for example, I can t help thinking she would have loved the way that Kanban reflects a systems learning, that the ability of people and organisations to execute tasks degrades rapidly as the number of tasks rises beyond a critical limit.Of course one natural and urgent interest in systems behaviour is how to change it If worshipping heroes and lynching villains isn t going to reform systems that may exhibit non linear, perverse or self preserving behaviour, what is In Part 3, Creating Change in System and in our Philosophy, Meadows gives us a dozen leverage points for changing systems, starting with the simplest and ending with the most powerful She finishes with a list of systems wisdoms attitudes and values that she and others she respects have adopted to make them effective at understanding and changing the systems we live in.Like many of the other reviewers, I wish I d read this book a long time ago It has its limitations I d love to see recent examples, and can t help wondering if there are any open source Systems modelling resources But for me this is a book of timeless value for anyone interested in a better understanding of their world and their options in it.