Thinking in Systems: A Primer

A place to recommend and discuss books that contribute towards our systems thinking and practice

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Postby jamesWtc on Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:48 pm

Book by Donella Meadows (edited).

Excellent original ideas of systems thinking. I should have this book start right from the beginning... but it has just arrived in my mailbox today. I believe it would be helpful too for ECA and T306. Skimmed through the book, well, pretty much everything covered in Block 2.

A must-have addition to book collection, especially for those who interested in systems.
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Re: Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Postby Andrea on Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:22 pm

Glad you found the book useful James :-). It is indeed a very good introduction to systems thinking with a strong focus on system dynamics -- the "stock-and-flow" system dynamics diagramming technique is introduced straight away in a very clear and simple fashion, and the rest of the book continues to explore the universe of systems thinking using a combination of her wonderful verbal communication (she quit her university professorship to become a journalist/organic farmer) with a range of very straightforward system dynamics diagrams and associated graphs (to demonstrate system behaviour over time).

If you become addicted to her writing style (which I have!), then I would recommend "The Global Citizen" as the next book to get hold of ;)
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Postby jamesWtc on Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:36 am

Yes. She writes in very succinct fashion, straight to the points, and in non-rhetoric way. The introductory part elaborates the ideas of systems thinking in a very comprehensible manner. I think it is a book designed for beginner like me. 8-)

I can continue reading it for hours, but I can't because I'm now far behind schedule for Block 3. (Block 3 contains language that is harder to understand than Block 2, of course, for me)

I think OU should consider to include this book as a reference for T214 students. Of course, it's not cheap considering the size of the book (costs me about £15 from amazon). But it is the quality that matters.
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Re: Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Postby scootrider on Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:01 pm

Hi James,

As a point of interest have you got the book with the dominoes on the front or a multi coloured slinky? I have had the latter in my wish list, at Amazon, since Andrea mentioned it, but it has not been in stock. Seeing your posting I doubled checked and saw there is a version with the dominoes on the front. I guess it has the same content?


"It is better to do the right thing incorrectly than to keep doing the wrong thing better and better". Russell Ackoff (1995)
T214-08, T306-09, T206-10, U316-11
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Re: Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Postby jsp_1983 on Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:18 pm

I've just bought this... Currently has an ETA of July 2015 for getting to the top of my reading pile! :D
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