Archive for the ‘Books (Cybernetics)’ Category

19
Apr

Decision and Control

   Posted by: Bricoleur Tags: Books, control, cybernetics, Stafford Beer

This entry is part 3 of 2 in the series TOE of Organization
Your first time here? Welcome, I'm glad you've dropped in.... David Soul (aka Bricoleur)

Decision and Control: The Meaning of Operational Research and Management Cybernetics (Classic Beer Series) Decision and Control: The Meaning of Operational Research and Management Cybernetics by Stafford Beer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Virtually every major “discovery” trotted out by business authors in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and ’00s that I’ve had the pleasure of reading, upon reflection and returning to this one source, appear to have by “pre-discovered” and their history and importance touched upon at least in passing in this remarkable management classic.

17
Apr

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

   Posted by: Bricoleur Tags: Books, CEP, systems thinking

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series TOE of Organization

Thinking in Systems: A Primer Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella Meadows

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
the subtitle says it all; this is an excellent introduction to the field of systems thinking.

Meadows clearly introduces all of the concepts critical to the foundation of learning in this area including: systems concepts of stocks, flows, feedback, time delays, resilience, bounded rationality, and system boundaries. More importantly she includes countless real world examples, ranging from the level of the personal to the level of global social institutions, that bring the richness of the field and applications of systems thinking to life.

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine
Cybersyn control room, 1972
Image via Wikipedia

“IF YOU WANT TO CREATE A CHANGE, you must challenge not only the models of Unreality, but the paradigms that underwrite them.”  — Stafford Beer

“General system theory, therefore, is a general science of wholeness” — Ludwig von Bertalannfy

Level II

Beer, Stafford, Brain of the Firm, Allen Lane, 1972

Level III

Klir, George J., An Approach to General Systems Theory, Van Nostrand, 1969

Level V

Bertalannfy, Ludwig von, General Systems Theory, George Braziller, N.Y., 1968

6
Feb

Mathematical Reflections

   Posted by: dhcsoul Tags: cybernetics, Stafford Beer

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine

I have not read any of Stafford Beer’s entries in the Select Bibliography included in The Heart of Enterprise, so cannot make any recommendations on the entries included here at the time this item is added to the series… it will be updated as I move forward with construction of my own “learning machine”

Level II
Varela, Francise J., A Calculus for Self-Reference, Int. J. General Systems 1975, Vol 2. pp5-24, Gordon and Breach

Level III
Spencer-Brown, G., Laws of Form, Allen & Unwin, 1969

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine
Rio della Verona: a rio or small canal in Venice
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The Prince — Machiavelli

The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

Level IV

Vickers, Geoffrey, Freedom in a Rocking Boat, Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1970

Schon, Donald A., Beyond the Stable State, Random House, N.Y., 1971

Level V

6
Feb

Psychological Reflections

   Posted by: dhcsoul Tags: cybernetics, Stafford Beer

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine

I have not read any of Stafford Beer’s entries in the Select Bibliography included in The Heart of Enterprise, so cannot make any recommendations on the entries included here at the time this item is added to the series… it will be updated as I move forward with construction of my own “learning machine”

Level III

Ackoff, R.L. and Emery, F.E., On Purposeful Systems, Aldin-Atherton, NY, 1966

Miller, J.G. Living Systems, McGraw-Hill, 1978

Level IV

Whyte, Lancelot Law, Internal Factors in Evolution, Tavistock Publications, 1965

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine
Cybernetics
Image via Wikipedia

Level II

Ashby, W. Ross, An Induction to Cybernetics, Chapman and Hall, 1956

Maturana, Humberto, and Varela, Francisco, Autopoeitic Systems

Powers, William T., Behaviour: The Control of Perception, Aldine, Chicago, 1973

Level III

Sommerhoff, G., Analystical Biology, OUP, 1950

Level IV

Rashevsky, Nicholas, Mathematical Principles in Biology, Charles C Thomas, Illinois, 1961

Waddington, C.H., The Strategy of the Genes, Allen & Unwin,  1957

Level V

Margalef, Ramon, Perspectives in Ecological Theory, University of Chicago, 1968

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think”
— Gregory Bateson

Level I

McCulloch, W.S., Embodiments of Mind, MIT Press, 1965

Level III

Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine Books, N.Y. 1972

Waddigton, C.H., Tools for Thought, Paladin, 1977

Level IV

Churchman, C. West, The Systems Approach, Delacote Press, N.Y. 1968

Craik, K.J.W., The Nature of Explanation, CUP, 1952

Chuang Tsu, Inner Chapters, Wildwood House, London 1974

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine
Model of a cybernetic factory based on an own ...
Image via Wikipedia

In “The Heart of Enterprise,” one of the classics in the field of management cybernetics, Stafford Beer includes a select bibiography for the Viable System while explaining that a supportive reading list, in a form for which a consensus of cyberneticans could be found, just wasn’t possible.  With this said he went on to construct what looks like a map, but is truly meant as model of a reading list (although as he freely admits, the map remains more artistic in nature than conforming to a scientific statement).

Designing Freedom Designing Freedom by Stafford Beer


My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finally got my own copy of this book (which I’ve been looking for it since about 1990)…

I’d forgotten just how great it is.

I’ve been angered lately about the number of absolute falsehoods spread by ALL sides in both current election campaigns (USA and Canada) – sometimes on purpose, often because they simply “don’t get it.” This book covers some of the reason this is endemic in our societies and at least gives me some hope that someday the leaders of our systems of governance will discover the route to stabilizing our systems. But for now I shake my head in fear and anguish.