- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co; 1 edition (14 September 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1603580557
- ISBN-13: 978-1603580557
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thinking in Systems: a Primer Paperback – 14 Sep 2015
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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.
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Now I want to dive deeper.
Although heavy-going in parts, the wisdom in this book is worth persevering to the end. The definition of a 'system' includes not just the typical business or technological view of what a system is; everything is a system: the planet's ecosystem, a cell, the human body, an organ within a body, a political party, a room's temperature control, a family, inventory levels in a business... everything. And all systems are interconnected.
This book is universally useful, due to that perspective.
The insights on how to understand system structures, flows, behaviours and where to intervene (effect change) in a system are profoundly useful. The Systems Traps explained in the book are something that if we all understood them--especially our politicians and legislators--we'd have a far more equitable, peaceful and sustainable society in this global village of ours.