Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Many of the challenges of the last 100 years have been due to our failure to think systemically. We neglect to anticipate unintended consequences. We look for simplistic solutions to complex problems, rather than looking deeply for strategic, efficient levers of change. Donella Meadow’s Thinking in Systems is a seminal text for seeing the world in all its richness and complexity and offering solutions that cut to the root of the problem, rather than just offering a Band-Aid.

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In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth―the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet― Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001.


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Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.

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