Found 5 comments on HN
ismail · 2019-05-05 · Original thread
It would depend in what scenario you wanted to apply the concepts. I find that the best ROT (return on time) can be had by reading research papers. You need to have an understanding of the terminology or be prepared to slog through it. There are some books that have very useful information.

Below are some of the resources i have been using/used:

A brilliant introduction to systems thinking by John Sterman who is a legend in the field.

Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows is a classic and a great introduction to some of the concepts.

My review:

Books focused on Application of the theory, with various approaches to systems thinking that can be applied to solve challenges. There is some overlap between the two books below as they both have a catalogue of methods. They are categorized differently. I would read the introductory chapters of both of these and then review the chapter layout and see which of the two i prefer.

Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers by Michael C. Jackson


Systems Concepts In Action by Bob Williams and Richard Hummelbrunner

Research Papers/Book Extracts:

A Definition of Systems Thinking: A Systems Approach by Ross D. Arnold, Jon P. Wade

Soft systems methodology: a thirty year retrospective by Peter Checkland

Guidelines for Drawing Causal Loop Diagrams By: Daniel H. Kim The Systems Thinker, Vol 3, No 1, pp5-6 (Feb 1992)

More at:

A brief guide to interactive planning and idealized design by Russel Ackoff

Application of soft systems methodology to the real world process of teaching and learning by Nandish V. Patel

An Application of Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology to the Development of a Military Information Operations Capability for the Australian Defence Force by R. J. Staker

Defining innovation: Using soft systems methodology to approach the complexity of innovation in educational technology by Glenda Cox

The viable system model: A briefing about organisational structure by Raul Espejo

Complex Adaptive Systems by JASON BROWNLEE

Sustainability, complexity and learning: insights from complex systems approaches by A. Espinosa, T. Porter

Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model An Interpretation By Trevor Hilder

Principles of the self-organizing system by W. Ross Ashby

Guidance on applying the viable system model by Sandra Hildbrand Shamim Bodhanya

Embracing Human Experience in Applied Systems-Thinking by José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón

The Need for a Systemic Approach to Change Management—A Case Study by Guangming Cao, Steve Clarke and Brian Lehaney

I have just included titles and authors, not direct download links to the PDF as unsure about copyrights. Some of my copies of the PDF are stamped with the date-time i downloaded. My email is in my profile if you want more.

spodek · 2018-01-08 · Original thread
Limits to Growth, the 30 year update, if 2004 is recent enough.

spodek · 2017-12-14 · Original thread
I remember the first time reading this book, or rather the 30 year update -- -- thinking, "this is the approach to take to understand how the economy, ecology, pollution, and so on interact."

Everything else was just looking at elements. Technology is important, for example, but exists within a system. They looked at the system. They had to simplify and assume a lot, which the media didn't understand (probably benign ignorance) and critics blew out of proportion (probably maliciously), but I found their approach the most meaningful.

Sadly, I know many people who care about the environment but don't understand the (relatively simple) math in their approach, and many people who understand the math but don't care about the environment, but almost no one who cares and understands. So in about a decade since reading it, I haven't found anyone I can talk to about it meaningfully.

A great companion by one of the authors is Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows --

Both changed my views more than almost any other books.

patrickdavey · 2014-12-12 · Original thread
Limits to Growth - the 30 year update

An introduction to systems theory and a look at why the authors think our system is already in "overshoot" (living beyond what is sustainable) and whether this will lead to collapse, or a smoother transition to a more sustainable and equitable society. Written by 3 scientists from MIT.

spodek · 2011-10-25 · Original thread
The best book and perspective I've read on population, the environment, the economy, technology, and how they all overlap is Limits to Growth, the 30 year update. It takes a systems approach to these related issues, not looking at just one in isolation, though recognizing you have to make assumptions.

I'd love to talk to people about it but I've never spoken to anyone in person who has read and understood it. I've read some commentary on the web, but most of it is filled with politics and preconceived notions (often the case of any discussion on these subjects) that detract from it.

Has anyone here read it? I blogged briefly about it here --

The Amazon link --

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