Apr 19, 2013

Book Review - Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows

I've been wanting to get in to a systems thinking for some time already. As I often do, I'll try to find the best book for the subject. With systems thinking, book from Donella H. Meadows seemed to be it. Thinking in Systems was written already in 2001, but it feels as fresh as any book.

Book starts from very basic systems and theory round those. Even though it goes to very basics, it's not dull and boring, but interesting way to look on familiar systems. Via these basic systems book explains the underlying theories behind systems thinking.

Thinking in Systems builds cleverly up from the basics to more complex systems and to theories around systems. It is quite easy to follow, but it requires thinking to keep up with system feedback loops and other things affecting systems.

What is funny about the systems theory in this book, is that everything is actually quite simple and easy to understand as a system, but then on the other hand, no one can really tell how complex systems will actually work. I think this is actually how the world works, no one can really certainly tell how changes in system will at the end turn out.

Book introduces common pitfalls with systems. Most of are the things that can be seen almost everyday. People overcompensate on problems or react too heavily on some things. Often the underlying logic of system is forgotten and people are will fix something that has no effect in the overall or will make things actually worse.

It was an excellent book and I recommend it to everyone. This book will help everyone understand more about the world we live in. I'm bit sad to know that not that many will actually read this book. Systems thinking is not the trendiest subject out there. That's a pity. You can be different and read it.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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