Originally posted on 26 Aug 2023

1 minute read

I bought this book thinking I’d read it and wanted a copy in my library. Then I skimmed the first chapter and realised that I hadn’t actually read it yet. I’d read other works on systems thinking that referred to this one, but somehow missed the work on systems thinking. Thankfully, I now had the chance to correct that.

And am I ever glad that I did. The other works I’d read were more academic, or at least those authors were trying to show how Very Clever They Were Indeed. I would not recommend them. Meadows’ writing (assisted by posthumous editing by Diana Wright), on the other hand, is equisitely clear and accessible. Her voice is friendly, knowledgable, and supportive as she leads the reader through the subject of systems complexity. I imagine she must’ve been a very good teacher and professor.

Part of the value of the book is that, because our existence relies upon infinite systems, it’s something that anyone can benefit from reading. The ideas are universally and widely applicable. Meadows handles this well, drawing examples from all facets of life and making them as relateable and understandable as possible regardless of the reader’s area of expertise.

There aren’t many books that I feel I’ll need to revisit every few years so new experiences can extract more from them, but this book has made that list. It’s impossible to read it without starting to apply its contents to situations you’re currently facing, shining new light on challenges and revealing opportunities.

A lovely piece of work. Highly recommended.