Thinking in Systems

Just finished the book Thinking in Systems: A Primer, by Donnella Meadows.It’s a good introduction to systems thinking and a high level overview of what happens when you actually begin to think in systems. Not at all technical. It’s a good and important read for everyone.

I particularly like her Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems. This list includes:

  1. Get the beat of the system.
  2. Expose your mental models to the light of day.
  3. Honor, respect, and distribute information.
  4. Use language with care and enrich it with systems concepts.
  5. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.
  6. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
  7. Go for the good of the whole.
  8. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
  9. Locate responsibility within the system.
  10. Stay humble— stay a learner.
  11. Celebrate complexity.
  12. Expand time horizons.
  13. Defy the disciplines.
  14. Expand the boundary of caring.
  15. Don’t erode the goal of goodness.

– Donella, Meadows. (2013-01-18). Thinking in Systems: A Primer . Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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