Book review: The art of systems thinking

Systems thinking is the key to understanding many of the problems that we face today as individuals and organizations. Peter Senge defined it as one of five key disciplines necessary to create a learning organization, but systems thinking is useful far beyond that.

This book, subtitled “Essential skills for creativity and problem solving”, is a thorough introduction to the field.

The book explains all the basic concepts of systems thinking, and demonstrates many ways to apply it in both professional and private life. It discusses the history of systems thinking and explains all the basic concepts involved.

Reading this book left me with a better feel for the nature of systems, and the ways in which systems change and can be changed. It is one more step away from the mechanistic world view that results from simple, linear cause-and-effect thinking.

I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in systems thinking (and if you’re not interested you should be). As an alternative, there’s also a substantial section on systems thinking in “The fifth discipline” by Peter Senge. It doesn’t achieve the same depth (of course), but it’s a good start.

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