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Thinking in Systems: a Primer Paperback – 14 Sep 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Publishers Weekly, Starred Review-

Just before her death, scientist, farmer and leading environmentalist Meadows (1941-2001) completed an updated, 30th anniversary edition of her influential 1972 environmental call to action, Limits to Growth, as well as a draft of this book, in which she explains the methodology-systems analysis-she used in her ground-breaking work, and how it can be implemented for large-scale and individual problem solving. With humorous and commonplace examples for difficult concepts such as a ""reinforcing feedback loop,"" (the more one brother pushes, the more the other brother pushes back), negative feedback (as in thermostats), accounting for delayed response (like in maintaining store inventory), Meadows leads readers through the increasingly complex ways that feedback loops operate to create self-organizing systems, in nature (""from viruses to redwood trees"") and human endeavor. Further, Meadows explicates methods for fixing systems that have gone haywire (""The world's leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth ...but they're pushing with all their might in the wrong direction""). An invaluable companion piece to Limits to Growth, this is also a useful standalone overview of systems-based problem solving, ""a simple book about a complex world"" graced by the wisdom of a profound thinker committed to ""shaping a better future.


About the Author

A woman whose pioneering work in the 1970s still makes front-page news, Donella Meadows was a scientist, author, teacher, and farmer widely considered ahead of her time. She was one of the world's foremost systems analysts and lead author of the influential Limits to Growth--the 1972 book on global trends in population, economics, and the environment that was translated into 28 languages and became an international bestseller. That book launched a worldwide debate on the earth's capacity to withstand constant human development and expansion. Twenty years later, she and co-authors Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers reported on their follow-up study in Beyond the Limits and a final revision of their research, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, was published in 2004.


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