Found in 19 comments on Hacker News
This is a great point. I read Thinking in Systems a few years ago and it changed how I observe and try to influence (or not) existing systems. Highly recommend.
l_t · 2019-05-14 · Original thread
I have found "Thinking in Systems" [0] to be a good book for crystallizing "systems" concepts in abstract. For example, it includes discussions on feedback loops, bottlenecks, equilibrium, etc.

IIRC, it has been used as a textbook for systems theory classes in some universities, but it's concise and written for a general audience.


A good book on the topic is "Thinking in Systems" by Donella Meadows [1]. It's a catalog of common system patterns and how they behave to give you some tools to answer the "then what?".


If you're interested in this topic you might like:

- Why markets fail (

- Thinking in Systems (

bootsz · 2018-12-18 · Original thread
The author of Thinking in Systems is incorrect. The author is Donella H. Meadows:
auslegung · 2018-09-16 · Original thread
I was recently given this list of books by some very skilled engineers who I trust

1. [The Pragmatic Programmer]( 2. Martin Fowler's [Refactoring Book]( 3. Kent Beck's [Test Driven Development: By Example]( 4. [Thinking in Systems: A Primer]( 5. [Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice]( 6. [Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware](

wyc · 2018-04-14 · Original thread
A great book for this is Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. She has many illustrative examples that really help get the points across. Coming from an electrical engineering background, I found her discussion around the interactions between positive and negative loops to be very interesting.

jeffcmohr · 2018-04-06 · Original thread
There's actually a lot of great material available, here are a few of my favorites:


- Introduction to Systems Thinking (

- Tools of a Systems Thinker (

- The Mythical Leverage Point (


- Peter Senge Introduction to Systems Thinking (

- I Used To Be A Systems Thinker (

- The (Failed) Promised of Systems Thinking (

- Systems Practice Mindsets (


- +Acumen Systems Practice Course (


- Thinking In Systems: A Primer by Donella Meadows (

- Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (

- Systems Thinking for Social Change (

Articles on Leading Systems Change:

- Dawn of Systems Leadership (

- Acting and Thinking Systemically (

- Transforming the Systems Movement (

Relevant Tools and Websites:

- Kumu ( - Web-based tool for building interactive system maps.

- The Systems Thinker ( - Complete library of all "The Systems Thinker" publications over the past 30 years

(Disclosure: I'm a cofounder of Kumu)

dpeck · 2017-12-27 · Original thread
I enjoyed reading and feel like I got a lot out of Thinking in Systems: A Primer
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.

kaycebasques · 2017-03-23 · Original thread
"Thinking In Systems: A Primer" was a wonderful introduction to the topic.

antoinevg · 2016-06-08 · Original thread
My feeling is that the constraints ultimately tend to be political rather than technological and it's hard to find folk from either camp willing to take the other seriously.


Also, don't underestimate the satisfaction to be gotten from teaching kids how to develop games & enterprise systems!

mooreds · 2016-04-23 · Original thread
I have taken a couple of permaculture courses and am also a developer. The biggest synergy between the two is system thinking. In both domains, you are thinking at multiple levels of abstraction, bouncing back and forth between the high level design and low level implementation.

Highly recommended: Thinking in Systems:

And the permaculture podcast covers a variety of interesting topics:

franze · 2014-06-24 · Original thread
1st "Thinking in Systems"

2nd Article "Leverage Points"

after these two you will have enough know-how on how to identify and manage systems (i.e.: your growing company)

then the only thing between you and success is reality, for how to influence the company reality you live in please read

3rd "Seeing Systems"

good luck and have fun (with the books, with your new responsibilities)

Maro · 2014-03-15 · Original thread
World3 is a famous simulation done in the 70s of our world/civilization that broadly predicts how our interaction with the environment will lead to a breakdown (decrease) of population.

You can run this world simulation here:

(Click on the green run simulation on the upper left.)

The lady who is responsible for this is called Donella Meadows, she is a famous systems thinker, I read one of her books titled 'Thinking in Systems'. It's about how to think about such systems (without actually modelling them).

danielharan · 2012-05-28 · Original thread
I recommend reading for a clear explanation of why this actually makes peak oil worse.

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