9781603580557

Thinking in Systems : A Primer

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781603580557

  • ISBN10:

    1603580557

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 12/3/2008
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

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 Systemshelps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.

Table of Contents

A Note from the Authorp. ix
A Note from the Editorp. xi
Introduction: The Systems Lensp. 1
System Structures and Behavior
The Basicsp. 11
A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoop. 35
Systems and Us
Why Systems Work So Wellp. 75
Why Systems Surprise Usp. 86
System Traps ... and Opportunitiesp. 111
Creating Change-in Systems and in Our Philosophy
Leverage Points-Places to Intervene in a Systemp. 145
Living in a World of Systemsp. 166
Appendix
System Definitions: A Glossaryp. 187
Summary of Systems Principlesp. 188
Springing the System Trapsp. 191
Places to Intervene in a Systemp. 194
Guidelines for Living in a World of Systemsp. 194
Model Equationsp. 195
Notesp. 204
Bibliography of Systems Resourcesp. 208
Editor's Acknowledgmentsp. 211
About the Authorp. 213
Indexp. 215
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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