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Thinking in Systems: A Primer Paperback – 15 December 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 539 ratings

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Review

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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Alex Lambden
5.0 out of 5 stars Systemically Awesome
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 September 2018
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S. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital book for anyone involved in the creation of modern systems.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 June 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars A necessity for all the thinkers and doers in the world
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 August 2017
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Francis Norton
5.0 out of 5 stars Why systems generate their own behaviour, and what to do about it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 June 2012
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JP
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely a must read if you are interested in climate change or any other complex problem
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 July 2019
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Jan Suyderhoud
5.0 out of 5 stars Systems wisdoms
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 August 2012
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Rob Julian
5.0 out of 5 stars A Smooth High Quality Primer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 June 2012
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ElectricMystix
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing and a true gem
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 October 2014
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Andy Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and practical
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 August 2014
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Richard H. Merrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 July 2017
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M.Badger
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 April 2011
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John Hardwick
4.0 out of 5 stars What a ride!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 February 2015
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Richard McCrory, Nephrology Trainee
5.0 out of 5 stars A Key Text for Novice Systems Thinkers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2017
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renata
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 April 2019
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 July 2019
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