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Book : Systems One : An Introduction to Systems Thinking (1980)

Systems One : An Introduction to Systems Thinking

Publisher:Future Systems Inc

Author(s):Kauffman, Draper L.

Published: 1980 • ISBN: 9996280519 • • Delivery Format: Hard Copy - Paperback

Available from: Amazon (US)Amazon (UK)Amazon (DE)

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Draper Kauffman, in ‘Systems 1: An Introduction to Systems Thinking’ provides a list of 10 characteristics of, and 22 rules of thumb for the operation of complex systems. Complex System Characteristics

  • Self-Stabilizing
  • Goal-Seeking
  • Program-following
  • Self-Reprogramming
  • Anticipation
  • Environment Modifying
  • Self-Replicating
  • Self-Maintaining and Repairing
  • Self-Reorganizing
  • Self-Programming

Complex System Rules of Thumb

  • Everything is connected to everything else
  • You can never do just one thing
  • There is no “away.”
  • There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch
  • Nature knows best
  • If ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you; it’s what you DO know that ain’t so
  • “Obvious solutions” do more harm than good
  • Look for high leverage points
  • Nothing grows forever
  • Don’t fight positive feedback; support negative feedback instead
  • Don’t try to control the players, just change the rules
  • Don’t make rules that can’t be enforced
  • There are no simple solutions
  • Good intentions are not enough
  • High morality depends on accurate prophecy
  • If you can’t make people self-sufficient, your aid does more harm than good
  • There are no final answers
  • Every solution creates new problems
  • Loose systems are often better
  • Don’t be fooled by system cycles
  • Remember the Golden Mean
  • Beware the empty compromise
  • Don’t be a boiled frog
  • Watch our for thresholds
  • Competition is often cooperation in disguise
  • Bad boundaries make bad governments
  • Beware the Tragedy of the Commons
  • Foresight always wins in the long run.

This brief primer on ecological and societal systems was to have been the first in a series on systems thinking, but the rest of the series never materialized. Its easy vocabulary, creative cartoons, and use of white space make it a non-threatening place to begin learning about systems.


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