Thinking in Systems: A Primer on Systems Thinking

Publisher summary

This is a primer that brings you to a tangible world where anyone can understand systems and engage with them in meaningful ways. The problems facing the world – war, hunger, poverty, climate change cannot be solved by quick fixes in isolation. We need to see the whole system and understand how each piece interacts. Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, which is a first step in finding solutions.

Table of contents

  • Introduction: The Systems Lens
  • Part One: System Structure and Behavior
    • Chapter 1: The Basics
    • Chapter 2: A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoo
  • Part Two: Systems and Us
    • Chapter 3: Why Systems Work So Well
    • Chapter 4: Why Systems Surprise Us
    • Chapter 5: System Traps … and Opportunities
  • Part Three: Creating Change—in Systems and in Our Philosophy
    • Chapter 6: Leverage Points—Places to Intervene in a System
    • Chapter 7: Living in a World of Systems
  • Appendix
    • System Definitions: A Glossary
    • Summary of Systems Principles
    • Springing the System Traps
    • Places to Intervene in a System
    • Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems Model Equations


Donella H. Meadows