Donella Meadows, a professor at Dartmouth College, a long-time organic farmer, journalist, and systems analyst, was working on a book titled Thinking in. We love Donella Meadows’ take on nurturing systems. “The Dance” is a great motivator to post on the bulletin board at your think-tank, school. In her article, “Dancing with Systems,” the late and beloved Donella Meadows ( ) speaks to the mystery at the source of quest for wholeness. Self-organizing .

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We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by systwms will alone.

» Dancing With Systems by Donella Meadows OntheWilderSide

Actions taken now have some immediate effects doneola some that radiate out for decades to come. As I read this I was floored by the constant application to my life. Two interesting examples stand out. Apr 07, Erin Weigel rated it it was amazing. And sometimes blaming or trying to control the outside influence blinds one to the easier task of increasing responsibility within the system. We experience now the consequences of actions set in motion yesterday and decades ago and centuries ago.

Or some balancing feedback loop could be negotiated to compensate for the reinforcing one. They will have to go into learning mode, to admit ignorance and be willing to be taught, by each other and by the system. An unlucky chicken crossing systms road without looking for oncoming traffic is a small example of negative feedback that helps to keep the meadoows population in check.


People who are raised in the industrial world and who get enthused about systems thinking are likely to make a terrible mistake.

Donella Meadows

It is, as the title advertises, a “primer,” so anyone can read it, and it is very readable. Reading this book doesn’t make one an expert on complex systems.

We get attached to the boundary our minds happen to be accustomed to. Nov 27, Mohammad rated it really liked it. Systems have three components: You read this book not because you want to learn about meadow who cares about that?!

While it can be daunting to think about challenges in this way, it’s really the only way to do it if we want to solve those challenges. While some of her ideas here meaxows interesting, and in a few cases maybe even profound, most of it is far too simplistic. Public leaders are visibly, unrepentantly, amoral or immoral and are not held to syshems.

Interdisciplinary communication works only if there is a real problem to be solved, and if the representatives from the various disciplines are more committed to solving the problem than being academically correct.

Keep meaning at the forefront. Places to Intervene in a Systemone of her best-known essays, in Use Rituals and Symbols.

On the level of society and social science, it is much more complicated of course: This rather sums up the difficulty that you face through thinking in systems. We explored looking at systems from multiple views. The real system is interconnected. It means making mistakes and, worse, admitting them.


On the personal level, the system thinking is a good tool to understand the world around you; that everything is interconnected and some of your decisions might come back and affect you in a surprising systwms.

Donella Meadows Publications

It is inevitable that this professional perspective engenders a very distinctive but always disputable way of evaluating systems behavior. There are many ways to learn to dance. Only part of us, a part that medows emerged recently, designs buildings as boxes with uncompromising straight lines and flat surfaces.

Georgiana is wity subject of the movie “The Duchess” currently on Netflix and a relative of the young Prince and Princess of Cambridge. She believes that learning to think together in holoconscious rather than competitive ways is crucial to human survival.

Dancing With Systems – The Donella Meadows Project

Another part of us recognizes instinctively that nature designs in fractals, with intriguing detail on every scale from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. Must have been a saint. A Visual Approach to Leverage Points. Because, though the systems cannot be controlled and predicted, but it can be understood to some extent!

In the end, I learned just as much about a beautiful dance-like way of approaching life as I did about approaching the analysis and manipulation of complex systems.