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Book : Thinking in Systems: A Primer (2008)

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Categories: Systems Thinking

Tags: bookmeadowssystems thinking

Publisher:Chelsea Green • Earthscan

Author(s):Meadows, Donella

Published: 2008 • ISBN: 1603580557 • 240 pages • Delivery Format: Hard Copy - Paperback

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


From the Sustainability Institute:

Thinking in Systems is required reading for anyone hoping to run a successful company, community, or country. Learning how to think in systems is now part of change-agent literacy. And this is the best book of its kind.”—Hunter Lovins, founder and President of Natural Capital Solutions and coauthor of Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth—the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet— Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001.

Meadows’ newly released manuscript, Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, 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 21st-century life.

Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking.

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 stay a learner.

In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.


Content / Structure

A Note From the Author

A Note From the Editor

Introduction: The Systems Lens

Part One: System structure and Behavior

ONE. The Basics

TWO. A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoo

Part Two: Systems and Us

THREE. Why Systems Work So Well

FOUR. Why Systems Surprise Us

FIVE. System Traps... and Opportunities

Part Three: Creating Change - in Systems and in Our Philosophy

SIX. Leverage Points - Places to Intervene in a System

SEVEN. Living in a World of Systems


System Definitions: A Glossary

Summary of Systems Principles

Springing the Systems Traps

Places to Intervene in a System

Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems

Model Equations


Bibliography of Systems Resources

Editor's Acknowledgements

About the Author


Copyright 2008 by The Sustainability Institute


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