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An Introduction to General Systems Thinking

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  355 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
For more than twenty-five years, An Introduction to General Systems Thinking has been hailed as an innovative introduction to systems theory, with applications in computer science and beyond. Used in university courses and professional seminars all over the world, the text has proven its ability to open minds and sharpen thinking.Originally published in 1975 and reprinted ...more
Paperback, Silver Anniversary Edition, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated (first published 1975)
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Jun 11, 2013 Sery0ga rated it really liked it
Shelves: system-thinking
The book is excellent and deep. The author is a guru in System Thinking and you feel it almost from the first page. Huge number of examples and suggestions for discussions is the most valuable part of the book. Spending most of my time in IT I had a limited view on the application of System Thinking. This book opened my eyes to many interesting directions and spheres I wasn't aware of.

At the same time the book is difficult to read. Sometimes I found myself moving slowly through sentences trying
Nov 08, 2014 Paul rated it liked it
To be a successful generalist, then, we must approach complex systems with a certain naive simplicity. We must be as little children, for we have much evidence that children learn most of their more complex ideas in just this manner, first forming a general impression of the whole and only then passing down to more particular discriminations.
Weinberg tries to explain how our preconceptions and biases get in the way of understanding the world around us.
I am more interested in system thinking to a
Jun 01, 2012 Angie added it
There are a lot of good ideas here, but for a book that is supposed to help people think it is incredibly badly organized, and he uses terms he does not define and laws he never states explicitly. (I read it as an ebook from Smashwords, which enabled me to look up terms or laws that I thought I could not remember, so I can be confident of that.)I am really surpirsed it is considered a classic.
It is clearly intended to be a textbook. There are some quite interesting "problems" at the end of each
Jan 29, 2017 Dan rated it liked it
Weinberg provides in clear language interesting ways to think about systems, in whatever incarnation they take. I feel like it's deceptively simple, verging on common sense. The thing is, so much of our perception is clouded by long-ingrained habit that it is useful to take a step back, and actual think about what how we think. Anyway, the principles and "laws" Weinberg introduces are something I intend to revisit.
Erika RS
Feb 18, 2013 Erika RS rated it liked it
This book has lots of good content -- I was highlighting frequently -- but it's not the easiest read.

The high level idea of general systems thinking is that there are large classes of problems that are difficult to analyze. Problems with small number of pieces and lots of structure -- organized simplicity -- can be handled analytically. Problems with many pieces and lots of randomness -- unorganized complexity -- can be handled statistically. Those systems in between -- medium systems -- are to
Benjamin Scherrey
May 20, 2016 Benjamin Scherrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computers
This is one of those few books that I revisit every few years and always learn something new from. If you're a systems designer of any sort (I'm a computer software architect/developer) then you'll find it remarkable how Gerry articulates things you've sort of noticed but never personally fully quantified resulting in those wonderful "ah-ha" moments. Then he proceeds to map those back to first principles and relate it to all kinds of other relevant considerations you had never considered. Pearls ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: could-not-finish
This is great and the erudition of the author is impressive. The logical problems and strategies he describes can really be applied to anything - and he shows that by applying them to all kinds of subjects, from computer science to biology and linguistics. The only reason why I couldn't finish reading it is that this book should really be completed in one sitting - I found that being distracted and going back to it, even to separate chapters, after a hiatus in reading would really interfere with ...more
Graham Lee
There are some useful details on thinking about systems in the abstract sense, but there's also a lot of the book that comes off as helping men to splain things in areas in which we aren't experts. I did not hear the same humble tone from this book as from the Psychology of Computer Programming by the same author.
Ryan Freckleton
Apr 12, 2013 Ryan Freckleton rated it it was amazing
This is the seminal book on the Systems Thinking movement and Systems thinking in general. I've read it at least 4 times from cover to cover.

If you're a scientist, an artist or someone who just is curious about how the world works, from sub-atomic particles to individual relationships, this book is full of gold.
John Blevins
Apr 01, 2015 John Blevins rated it really liked it
I read a couple of Weinberg's books. He did some on-site consulting in organization development at my employer's of the time.
I preferred his "Psychology of Computer Programming" for accessibility.
Johnno Nolan
Oct 29, 2012 Johnno Nolan rated it liked it
I'll admit I've struggled with this book. It's dense and a little bit all over the place. But when I set my mind to there is some fascinating information in there.
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I've always been interested in helping smart people be happy and productive. To that end, I've published books on human behavior, including Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, The Psychology of Computer Programming, Perfect Software and Other Fallacies, and an Introduction to General Systems Thinking. I've also written books on leadership including Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets ...more
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