A very rough and partial draft systems thinking reading list

Shared for a friend of a friend

Draft systems thinking reading list

Benjamin.taylor@systemspractice.org

www.linkedin.com/in/antlerboy

www.twitter.com/antlerboy

Intro

A very partial and incomplete list!

Advice: there are *so many* flavours of systems thinking / complexity / cybernetics – do yourself a favour and don’t flog through stuff that doesn’t work for you, find things that bring your mind alive.

Start with the articles and skim through.

Many of the books can be found online for free (often pirated) – monoskop.org is good – useful for many modern management books (read the first chapter and you’ve got all the ideas) and for the old, deep stuff (read enough to see if you want to dive in) – but do buy the book if you value it.

Have a look at the core systems and the practice requirements at https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/systems-thinking-practitioner/ – you need both to be a systems practitioner

General RedQuadrant reading list (public service transformation with a flavour of systems thinking):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/19ji4L38JVVJiWj9EiSglY–q_rn_fr6a7G4MjnuDYK0/edit?usp=sharing

Groups to join:

For COVID-19, Rob Young has set up a facebook group to collate all systems-related updates – https://stream.syscoi.com/2020/04/07/please-join-and-contribute-covid-19-resources-systems-community-facebook-group/

Systems Community of Inquiry https://stream.syscoi.com/
(replaces model.report – systems thinking repository and discussion – see https://syscoi.com/model.report/model.report/newest.html for static archive)

Systems thinking network https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2639211

systems thinking facebook groups at

SCiO – Systems and Complexity in Organisation

Nick Ananin’s systems thinking events map worldwide) https://goo.gl/4PXkCg

Other key systems thinking groups:

Illuminate/SIGNAL – building the field of systems change https://mailchi.mp/cf0bdef6497a/illuminate

Systems Convening – Bev and Etienne Wenger-Trayner are writing a manual, and a good group has formed: https://groups.io/g/systems-convening / https://wenger-trayner.com/systems-convening/

Systems innovation – http://systemsinnovation.io/ and slack at http://systemsinnovationteam.slack.com

Articles

Systems One: An Introduction to Systems Thinking – Draper L. Kauffman Jr. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1btuVMWRAIg0PelXOOJ07ddq0f_nTPTP7/view?usp=sharing (short book – 48 pages)

Making Work Systems Better – Luc Hoebeke (book – 138 pages) https://drive.google.com/file/d/17btE9GsAMi2M5j418IgDLhpNoR5lK3rR/view?usp=sharing

Epistemological Crises, Dramatic Narrative, and the Philosophy of Science – Alasdair MacIntyre https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VPkr5mIn8vnBw_mMl5rCOgMYroyYCx4p/view?usp=sharing (journal publication – 20 pages)

A first lesson in meta-rationality – David Chapman https://meaningness.com/metablog/bongard-meta-rationality

Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework (power+systems) – human systems.

An Overview of the Soft Systems Methodology – Stuart Burge (article – 14 pages) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ngzFoLZScboUurv6TF47F3QkgXCh8vpG/view?usp=sharing

Leverage Points: Places to intervene in a System – Donnella Meadows (article – 21 pages) https://drive.google.com/file/d/18lO4QcbqBUhlm0EmtkjeauwDInhp1H_G/view?usp=sharing

Dancing with systems – Donnella Meadows
http://donellameadows.org/archives/dancing-with-systems/

A Systems Literacy Manifesto – Hugh Dubberly (presentation – 59 slides) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OHQqAkwL48YM8iB4R7vJqJdLbd8SxmG7/view?usp=sharing

The Viable Systems Model

Simple Rules for a Complex World – Kathy Eisenhardt, Donald Sull (short article – 12 pages) https://hbr.org/2012/09/simple-rules-for-a-complex-world

Adaptiveness in human social organisation: some guiding principles – Michael Church (journal publication – ten pages) https://cmapspublic.ihmc.us/rid=1LLD90NQ0-N92GXZ- 29CZ/ADAPTIVENESS%20IN%20HUMAN%20SOCIAL%20ORGANISATION.htm

Chris Argyris: Theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning (journal publication – 23 pages) https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FMrOWbkU0BAJzbDlawwIjb6oOZkgNMSZ

Systems Approaches to Public Sector Challenges: Working with Change, OECD (free)

https://www.oecd.org/publications/systems-approaches-to-public-sector-challenges-9789264279865-en.htm

Wicked Solutions – Williams and Van ‘t Hof
https://writing.dawsoncollege.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Wicked-Solutions-Second-Edition.pdf

Government

Treaty for Government – a systems thinking approach to Government – Ed Straw http://www.treatyforgovernment.com/ (book – 254 pages)

The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking – Ray Ison and Ed Straw
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Power-Systems-Thinking-Governance/dp/1138493996/

Stand & Deliver: A Design for Successful Government – Ed Straw (presentation – 21 slides) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1A8NTYzR78SbWci9Lcl3xLB_eMqqMD9xS/view?usp=sharing

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed – James Scott (long book – 460 pages)
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Seeing-Like-State-Condition-Institution/dp/0300078153

Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework (power+systems)

Navigating Complexity: The Essential Guide to Complexity Theory in Business and Management Arthur Battram (book – 270 pages)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Navigating-Complexity-Essential-Business- Management/dp/185835899X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1427326475&sr=8- 3&keywords=navigating+complexity&pldnSite=1
RedQuadrant library: https://redquadrant.libib.com/#36939049X

The Fractal Organisation – Patrick Hoverstadt (book – 338 pages)
Amazon: http://smile.amazon.co.uk/Fractal-Organization-Creating-Sustainable- Organizations/dp/0470060565/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427326460&sr=8- 1&keywords=the+fractal+organisation
RedQuadrant library: https://redquadrant.libib.com/#1029021X

Thinking in Systems: A Primer – Diana Wright, Donella H. Meadows (book – 240 pages)
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Thinking-Systems-Primer-Diana-Wright/dp/1844077268
RedQuadrant library: https://redquadrant.libib.com/#1031733X

Images of Organization – Gareth Morgan (long book – 520 pages)
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Images-Organization-Gareth-Morgan/dp/1412939798
RedQuadrant library: https://redquadrant.libib.com/#1029098X

The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting – Steve Morlidge (book – 96 pages) https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Little-Book-Beyond-Budgeting-Organisations/dp/1785899287

Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps – Jennifer Berger (article – 24 pages) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G6SFoI5YnsATXtXXWlIwJl_zIL6ojGfb/view?usp=sharing

(book – 168 pages) Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Unlocking-Leadership-Mindtraps-Thrive- Complexity/dp/1503609014

The Systems Thinking Playbook – Meadows and Sweeney
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#4133211X

Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos – Mitchell Waldrop
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#15288900X

Out of Control – Kelly
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#21553244X

Systems Thinkers – Ramage and Shipp
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#15289113X

Systems Approaches to Management – Michael Jackson
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/030646506X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Systems Approaches to Managing Change – Reynolds and Howell
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#15289094X

Systems Thinking for Social Change – Stroh
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#60844152X

The Systems Approach and Its Enemies – West Churchman
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#21553177X

The Brain of the Firm – Beer
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Brain-Firm-2e-Classic-Beer/dp/047194839X

Safety Differently: Human Factors for a New Era, Second Edition – Dekker
https://redquadrant.libib.com/#44506149X

Strong Towns – Marohn
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Strong-Towns-Bottom-Up-Revolution-Prosperity-ebook/dp/B07YGC4K4V