The 1969 publication of Systems Thinking: Selected Readings, edited by Fred E. Emery as a Penguin Modern Management paperback, can be regarded as a milestone. The articles date from the 1940s to the 1960s, when the first wave of systems thinking was on the rise.
For the June session of Systems Thinking Ontario, we stepped through a wiki digest of the book highlights, with two invited discussants. David L. Hawk (Ph.D. 1973) and John Pourdehnad (Ph.D. 1982) were both graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania. In the Social Systems Science program led by Russell Ackoff, eminent visitors such as Fred Emery were frequent guest lecturers.
This session covered some basic idea in sections of the book, filled with colour commentary on personal history associated with systems researchers in the 1970s.
(FHD 1920×1080 914kbps 861MB)
[on the Internet Archive]
A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.
[on the Internet Archive]
Here is the original abstract sent in advance.
It’s been over 50 years, since the publication of the first edition of Systems Thinking: Selected Readings, a Penguin Modern Management paperback reader edited by Fred E. Emery.
From the selected readings, have we moved beyond that milestone? What do we see if we revisit the 18 chapters, the five parts, and the introduction?
David Hawk completed his PhD in 1979, in the Social Systems Science program at U. Pennsylvania 1975-1988. When he entered the program in 1974 as a graduate student, Fred Emery gave him the paperback. This provides him a unique perspective on the reader, not only with his instructors guiding further interpretations, but with many decades on reflecting on seminal works.
John Pourdehnad completed his PhD in 1982, also in the Social Systems Science program. For more than a decade, he led systems thinking engagements with Russell Ackoff at the Interact Institute for Interactive Design.
David Ing has prepared a federated wiki at https://st1969.daviding.wiki.openlearning.cc/view/welcome-visitors/view/systems-thinking-selected-readings-penguin-1969 abridging the content that will used to guide the discussion.
- Introduction, “Systems Thinking: Selected Readings”, edited by F. E. Emery (1969) at https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2023/05/03/introduction-systems-thinking-selected-readings-edited-by-f-e-emery-1969/ .
- Introduction, “Systems Thinking: Selected Readings, volume 2”, edited by F. E. Emery (1981), at https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2023/05/03/introduction-systems-thinking-selected-readings-volume-2-edited-by-f-e-emery-1981/
- Federated wiki microsite on Systems Thinking 1969, at http://st1969.daviding.wiki.openlearning.cc/view/welcome-visitors/view/systems-thinking-selected-readings-penguin-1969