(6 customer reviews)


The Beginner’s Guide
to Systems Large and Small

999 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: ISBN 0-9618251-7-0-1 Categories: ,

The Beginner’s Guide to Systems Large and Small

The Third Edition of SYSTEMANTICS

John Gall

The Indispensable Handbook of Systems-behavior, written specifically for all of us who must daily cope with the Pitfalls, Foibles, and Failures of the Systems that make up our Modern World.

— William Safire

GENERAL SYSTEMANTICS PRESS is proud to announce the revised and much enlarged THIRD edition of SYSTEMANTICS, THE UNDERGROUND TEXT OF SYSTEMS LORE. Sixteen years in preparation, this THIRD Edition includes a new Preface, three new chapters, new AXIOMS, THEOREMS AND RULES OF THUMB, and many new Horrible Examples, for a total of 40 chapters covering the entire field from the PRIMAL SCENARIO to the FAIL-SAFE THEOREM and including the celebrated definition of GARBAGE that is fundamental to any real understanding of SYSTEMANTICS.

The FIRST EDITION of SYSTEMANTICS was “highly recommended” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science Books and Films and has since been translated into Spanish, German, Hebrew, and Japanese.

The SECOND EDITION has been favorably reviewed in the Whole Earth Catalogue (1986) by Kevin Kelly: “The author is having fun with a serious subject . . . insights come in the form of marvelously succinct rules of thumb, in the spirit of Murphy’s Law and the Peter Principle.” And Computer Book Review remarks, “From ‘Function-and-Failure’ to ‘Management and Other Myths’, here’s a collection of witty observations… grown into mature rules of thumb.”

The Systems Bible™. 3d ed. 316+xxv pages. 2002.
ISBN 0-9618251-7-0 (Softcover)

Weight 40 oz
Dimensions 12 × 10 × 2 in

6 reviews for The SYSTEMS BIBLE™

  1. admin

    The one book you need to read. It explains everything
    I first read this book when a very good friend sent me a copy after a promotion to management. It saved my life, sanity, and career. It is humorous but very accurate.

  2. admin

    Should be a required read
    I would like this book to be required reading for all high school or college students. It would help dispel the now unhealthy wide-spread blind faith in “systems.” To paraphrase the author: A large system (Congress for example) never does what it says it does. Large systems have their own goals. “The Systems Bible” is written for the layperson. It is very witty and full of usable wisdom.

  3. admin

    A bit pessimistic but brilliant nevertheless
    I enjoy this refined manual on systems. The style sarcastic and provocative challenges your assumptions and keep you thinking. I found it a bit pessimistic because systems (not all of them!!!) are the foundation and the way societies reinvent themselves. I liked the image about that the parts of a plane fight the purpose of flying but in the right combination and the due maintenance they are able to fly! So are systems…

  4. admin

    A must-read
    This book is an absolute must-read for everyone building anything (be it IT professionals, any kind of engineers, etc). So many stories (and hopefully lessons learned) are listed in this book. Now that I am thinking of it, it’s really interesting from a consumer point of view as well, because exactly the consumers are using a big number of systems. This book can just give a different perspective on those.

    Personally, I really like the writing style of the author, he is not ridiculing or finger-pointing, but at some parts of the books, I was having a hard time to read, because of all the laughing. Even though the stories may not be considered funny, I think everyone should spend some time on them and ponder.

    I would surely re-read the book after some time because I am sure still I missed or misunderstood some of the lessons – most I even would’ve broken some of the “rules” in it..

  5. admin

    A lot of wisdom behind the humor
    This is a book about systems. But in the context of discussing systems, John Gall also cuts to the heart of some of the problems with humanity.

    The main axiom that the book leads back to is keep things simple. Gall describes many systems that morph into grotesque and unrecognizable behemoths that don’t do anything they were intended to. In a way, this book also follows this idea. Each chapter is sort and to the point. Main points are in all caps. And then, for good measure, they’re all collected in an appendix. Many books will take 300 pages to say something that could have been said in 3 pages. Not here. If Gall was a greedy man, he could likely have gotten 6 or 7 books out of the material in the book. But that’s not his style, and we’re all better off for it.

    I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

  6. admin

    Coffee-out-the-nose funny
    A quick and concise explanation of why Murphy was an optimist. Things fail, in unexpected ways, at unexpected times, for entirely unanticipated reasons. The reason so many systems large and small fail to work as predicted for the simple reason that what a system is EXPECTED to do and what that system was DESIGNED to do are often unrelated and sometimes antagonistic.

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