|Christopher Alexander - pioneer of design patterns and a novel approach to planning||Gregory Bateson - master of paradox||Hylton Boothroyd - wonderful little book on systems change unfortunately now hard to find||Albert Borgmann - deep and unusual insights into technology|
|Stewart Brand - change how you think about architecture||Larry Hirschhorn - change how you think about organizations and boundaries||Kevin Kelly - change how you think about systems and control||Bruno Latour - places science and technology into their social context|
|Humberto Maturana & Francisco Varela - important thinkers about systems in biology with much broader relevance||Gareth Morgan - brilliant survey of organizations from multiple perspectives||Sir Geoffrey Vickers - a wise and reflective man of affairs who had a profound influence on systems thinking and practice||Karl Weick - change how you think about organizations and change|
pioneer of design patterns and a novel approach to planning
|Christopher Alexander and associates, A Pattern Language.
Oxford University Press 1977.
Christopher Alexander and different associates, A New Theory of Urban Design. Oxford University Press 1987.
I’m also eagerly awaiting the publication of his next book, The Nature of Order.
master of paradox
Mary Catherine Bateson (daughter of Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead) has written some excellent stuff in her own right, as well as editing her father's material.
|Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology,
Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology by Gregory Bateson, Mary Catherine
Mind and Nature is good, but seems to be unavailable at present. Other books to look out for are Angels Fear and Further Steps.
wonderful little book on systems change unfortunately now hard to find
|Hylton Boothroyd, Articulate Intervention. Taylor & Francis, 1978.|
deep and unusual insights into technology
|Albert Borgmann, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. Chicago University Press 1984.|
change how you think about architecture
|Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After
They’re Built. Viking 1994.
In this detailed and well-illustrated book, Brand shows how buildings adapt to changing requirements over long periods. The book inspired a 6-part TV series by the BBC. (Comments critical of the architect Lord Rogers have been removed from the British edition. Despite this, Brand himself, in a comment on the Amazon.co.uk website, recommends the British edition.)
a good study of articulation, from a follower of Bateson
|Douglas Flemons, Completing Distinctions Shambala, Boston & London, 1991.|
change how you think about organizations and boundaries
|Larry Hirschhorn, The Workplace Within. MIT Press, 1988.|
change how you think about systems and control
|Kevin Kelly, Out
of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic
Out of Control is a wide-ranging and excellently researched compendium of large complex systems. Kelly has found interesting parallels between a variety of disciplines, from biology to computer science, and from mathematics to government. Kelly ends with what he calls The Nine Laws of God - nine principles which he claims to find in the design or growth of all large complex systems, both "natural" and "artificial".
Kevin Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Ways the Network Economy is Changing Everything(or perhaps ) 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World 1998
A systematic analysis of the strategies for successful business in the new world. This is the open, distributed, connected, chaotic world he described in his previous book, Out of Control.
New Rules is a much thinner volume than Out of Control. It explores some of the business paradoxes of the Internet, and turning the Nine Laws of God into a more practical set of rules-of-thumb for being successful in a networked world. Think of it as a pattern language for e-business.
places science and technology into their social context
|Bruno Latour, Science in Action. Harvard University
Also worth reading is Bruno Latour. Aramis or The Love of Technology. Translated by Catherine Porter. Harvard University Press, 1996.
good insights on social change
|Peter Marris, The Politics of Uncertainty (Routledge, 1996). Especially Chapter 7.|
Maturana & Francisco Varela
important thinkers about systems in biology with much broader relevance
|H. Maturana and Francisco Varela, The Tree of Knowledge Shambala 1992. Provides a readable discussion of the notion of closure in biology. A more theoretical presentation of their ideas can be found in H. Maturana & F. Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition: The realization of the living. D. Reidel, 1980. See also Francisco Varela Principles of Biological Autonomy New York: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1979.|
|Mercer Management Consulting
Slywotzky and his chums have produced some outstanding works of the airport bookstall genre
|Adrian Slywotzky and associates, Profit Patterns:
30 Ways to Anticipate and Profit from Strategic Forces Reshaping Your Business.
John Wiley 1999.
David Bovet & Joe Martha, Value Nets: Breaking the Supply Chain to Unlock Hidden Profits. John Wiley, 2000.
brilliant survey of organizations from multiple perspectives
|Gareth Morgan, Images of Organization. Sage 1986. There are various editions available, including shortened versions. I recommend the full-length paperback version.|
an excellent survey on design matters
|Peter Rowe, Design Thinking. MIT Press 1987.|
|Carl Shapiro & Hal Varian||Carl Shapiro & Hal Varian, Information Rules: A strategic guide to the network economy (Harvard Business School, 1998)|
|Richard Veryard||Component-Based Business: Plug and Play. Springer, 2001|
|Sir Geoffrey Vickers
a wise and reflective man of affairs who had a profound influence on systems thinking and practice
|Art of Judgment
Human Systems are Different
The Vickers Papers
all currently out of print
change how you think about organizations and change
|His 1982 paper on "The Management of Change among Loosely
Coupled Elements" has now been reprinted in a new collection of his papers.
Karl Weick, Making Sense of the Organization. Basil Blackwell, 2001.
|Paul S. Goodman and associates, Change in Organizations. Jossey-Bass 1984.||Especially recommended are the contributions by Chris Argyris, Kenwyn Smith and Karl Weick.|
|Grahame Thompson et al (eds), Markets, Hierarchies and Networks: The Coordination of Social Life (Sage 1991)||Read chapters 14-16 and 20-24.|
|BT Technical Journal||Some excellent material has been coming out of BT Labs - and often with a clearer enterprise focus than their rivals at Bell Labs. Especially recommended is the special issue on the Emerging Enterprise, Vol 17 No 4 (October 1999).|
|Information Economy||The Economics of the Internet, Information Goods, Intellectual Property and Related Issues. Compiled by Hal R. Varian (author of Information Rules).|