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The Systems Bible: The Beginner's Guide to Systems Large and Small Paperback – January, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: General Systemantics Pr/Liberty (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961825170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961825171
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 13 customer reviews
This book will teach you how to think.
John Gunther
What's more, this book brings it to you with a great sense of humor, in itself a vehicle to open up to John Gall's geniality in analyzing our castle of cards.
Leonardo Wild
After reading this, every time a colleague complained about a system (computer or otherwise) I'd just smile and think of something I read in this book.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book. Somewhat tongue in check.

For those of us that work on (or in) system, this is a must read book.

You'll understand why the Federal government and computer systems work the way they do.

After reading this, every time a colleague complained about a system (computer or otherwise) I'd just smile and think of something I read in this book. System's have their own behaviors and own rules.

Reading this book will help you understand the trade-offs of systems.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo Wild on October 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first found a copy of Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail. It was the first edition of The Systems Bible. If you wonder why the world cannot be fixed by creating more systems, this book is for you. Even if you haven't wondered, this book is still for everyone who likes to ask questions and wants clear answers. In short, the system does not do what the systems says it's doing, and reality is what is being reported to the system. Clear insights like these allow you to recognize the absurdity of so many things we take for granted. What's more, this book brings it to you with a great sense of humor, in itself a vehicle to open up to John Gall's geniality in analyzing our castle of cards.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Rathbun on January 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Gall's Systemantics was first presented to me back in 1976; at the time it slowly dawned on me that this was much more than a transitory volume of humor. Subsequent experience (and 2.5 subsequent editions) have proven it to be a treasury of wisdom. If you glean nothing more than "The system tends to oppose its own proper function" therefrom, you will have gotten your money's worth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Renesch - "The Great Growing Up" on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
In this book, author John Gall creates a tongue-in-cheek approach to systems behavior that is refreshing, eye-opening and a delightful respite from the usual academic or mechanistic perspectives that have overwhelmed our literature on the subject since 1990 when Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline became a bestseller.

I first read it in the early 1990s as "Systemantics," which is no longer available under that title. The author has added to it substantially and changed the title (which I wish he hadn't done) but it is still a light-hearted review of all those dysfunctional systems upon which we continue to rely. God bless them all!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew H. on November 22, 2013
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Absolutely the last word in Systems Thinking. Building is just the start...understanding how/why something will fail not only broadens your perspective of the task, but help to fine-tune the work as you go along.

Good examples with handy mnemonics. Deep wisdom that will leave you thinking for years to come.

I have had the first two editions (originally published as "Systemantics") and it has been like a career guidebook to recognizing the pitfalls and simple stupidity that is now the hallmark of modern American business, and really any human-made system ever made.

It's as if a conference room full of engineering professors have a few drinks to discuss Alfred Korzybski's "Science & Sanity" and Ludwig von Bertalanffy's "General Systems Theory" and wind up dishing the dirty secrets of their beloved bailiwick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Wright on February 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though it never really died. When my dad handed me his 1970's copy of Systemantics with an illustration of the Titanic sinking on the cover, I didn't know what to expect. Now, years later, John Gall's book is even better. Full of insight and wrought with wit, this book explains the strange world we live in by analyzing its various systems--from garbage collection to the IRS to entire nation states.
If you're looking for systems theory, this is the wrong place--but this book is for you.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Watson on October 28, 2013
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This isa book every systems engineer, computer scientist, teacher, and the listgoes on, should read. It contains a plethera of axioms pertaining to the antics of systems.
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