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Focuses on the thinkers in the field and gives both a clear account of their lives and describes their major contributions in a way that allows the reader to see the overall shape of their ideas
Includes very wide coverage of the field of systems thinking, bringing together a number of sub-fields that are closely connected but which are usually treated separately
Discusses thinkers of many different types, including those who are widely recognized as the key shapers of the field, well-known figures less frequently considered as systems thinkers, major practitioners, and those who have played an important part within the field but are not well-known outside of it
Systems Thinkers presents a biographical history of the field of systems thinking, by examining the life and work of thirty of its major thinkers. It discusses each thinker’s key contributions, the way this contribution was expressed in practice and the relationship between their life and ideas. This discussion is supported by an extract from the thinker’s own writing, to give a flavour of their work and to give readers a sense of which thinkers are most relevant to their own interests.
Systems thinking is necessarily interdisciplinary, so that the thinkers selected come from a wide range of areas – biology, management, physiology, anthropology, chemistry, public policy, sociology and environmental studies among others. Some are core innovators in systems ideas; some have been primarily practitioners who also advanced and popularised systems ideas; others are well-known figures who drew heavily upon systems thinking although it was not their primary discipline. A significant aim of the book is to broaden and deepen the reader’s interest in systems writers, providing an appetising ‘taster’ for each of the 30 thinkers, so that the reader is encouraged to go on to study the published works of the thinkers themselves.
Content Level »Graduate
Keywords »Biographical History - Cybernetics - Niklas Luhmann - Systems Ideas - Systems Thinkers - biology - complexity - environment - management - physiology - systems theory
Early Cybernetics.- Gregory Bateson.- Norbert Wiener.- Warren McCulloch.- Margaret Mead.- W. Ross Ashby.- General Systems Theory.- Ludwig von Bertalanffy.- Kenneth Boulding.- Geoffrey Vickers.- Howard Odum.- System Dynamics.- Jay Forrester.- Donella Meadows.- Peter Senge.- Soft and Critical Systems.- C. West Churchman.- Russell Ackoff.- Peter Checkland.- Werner Ulrich.- Michael Jackson.- Later Cybernetics.- Heinz von Foerster.- Stafford Beer.- Humberto Maturana.- Niklas Luhmann.- Paul Watzlawick.- Complexity Theory.- Ilya Prigogine.- Stuart Kauffman.- James Lovelock.- Learning Systems.- Kurt Lewin.- Eric Trist.- Chris Argyris.- Donald Schön.- Mary Catherine Bateson.