Item description for An Introduction to Systems Science by John N. Warfield...
This is the first book that renders a thorough discussion of systems science. It draws on material from an extensive collection of external sources, including several other books and a special library collection complete with videotape empirical evidence of applicability of the theory to a wide variety of circumstances. This is essential because systems science must be responsive to diverse human situations of the widest difficulty, and it must fill the void that the specific sciences cannot fill, because these sciences are insensitive to the necessities of reconciling disparate views of multiple observers, and incorporating local conditions in hypotheses that precede inductive explorations.
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Studio: World Scientific Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.98" Width: 6.22" Height: 1.18" Weight: 1.68 lbs.
Release Date Apr 19, 2006
Publisher World Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN 981256702X ISBN13 9789812567024
Reviews - What do customers think about An Introduction to Systems Science?
strangest book on "systems science" I have ever bought Oct 28, 2007
I have bought hundreds of engineering, math, computer, and science books from this site over the years, and have never returned a single one, nor felt compelled to submit a single negative comment, except this one. I have been disappointed in books before, but always found them to have some redeeming value. But this book is REALLY different. Not technical at all - just rambling philosophy. This book just seems to be Warfied tooting his own horn about his work over the years. And indeed, he has done some truly marvelous systems engineerng work over the years - but you won't learn anything about any of that work in this book - except in the most general,rambling philosphy. Sadly, all the excellent work he has done on sytems engineering methods seems to be mostly out of print and hard to get. If you are interested in his philosophy, buy this book. If you are interested in his remarkable work on systems science, try to get one of his older out-of-print books.
A Necessary Book Oct 3, 2006
I would unconditionally recommend this book. I have used the processes Warfield describes in my work as an Artist, an Artistic Director, a performing arts teacher and the leader of a religious congregation.
I cannot improve on the above (Ring) review but would tell the first reviewer (Spitzer) that he would probably have the same problem with the works of Heinrich Shenker while musicians use Shenker's seminal work to improve their understanding of musical systems.
Other nations such as the English, the Indians, the Japanese, the Chinese and the Department of Defense find Dr. Warfield to be very helpful.
Unfortunately, like the most average Americans find his work to be difficult unless they know the language of "systems." They suffer from the problem of believing the "killer assumption" that all problems are subject to understanding in common language. This is a real problem with cross cultural issues and is THE problem that Arms Inspector David Kaye said the Americans had in searching for WMDs in Iraq. How to get Americans to be more sophisticated is a real "problem" that would benefit from a serious workshop led by Dr. Warfield and his protégés.
Although major American corporations and the DOD have used his work for many years, the language is still esoteric to this generation of ordinary citizens. The necessary preparation for system's understanding is so lacking in American education that the specific meanings of words can be a real "stunner" when a Master uses them. Dr. Warfield has made a recommendation for a whole new way of training students in higher education that would remedy this deficiency and it should be done.
That said, if you are interested in studying the issues of "Systems Science" placed in a prose context with little math to disturb the average mind then this is a good book to study having been written by the Master of the work.
It would better serve us all for Americans to spend more time and work on "systems thought" and on studying this man who is known as the Father of Systems Science.
If the math is not an issue and you have more sophistication, then I would recommend Warfield's book "Understanding Complexity: Thought and Behavior." It is more workbook than a linear prose and you need to understand the math and logic vocabulary or have a good tutor to answer your questions. But all of the information is there in a wicked, succinct language that makes you think every moment. I have found both of these books to be highly illuminating however I would like more information on Integrated Structural Modeling.
Perhaps that is the next book.
Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director The American Masters Arts Festival Priest, the Nuyagi Keetoowah Society
Odd, to say the least Sep 20, 2006
This is a most peculiar book: rambling, discursive, full of impenetrable jargon and idiosyncratic phrases. It really never seems to get anywheres at all. It provides "data" in the form of brief biographical sketches of individuals from Aristotle onwards who have influenced the author professionally; and it references the author's prior work in terms of the total number of pages, etc which all seems rather meaningless. It is very repetetive. I just found the oddness of this book so distracting that it became ultimately annoying and unreadable.
I did not like this book at all, and I intend to return it. I do not think anyone can learn systems science or even learn the gist of this field from reading this book.
An Introduction To Systems Science by John N. Warfield Sep 3, 2006
Warning: this review may be premature. It is being written after one read whereas this book will sustain more than a dozen read-throughs, each generating new insights. Not that the book is obtuse--quite the opposite, this book is well organized and well written. But it is so full of ideas, propositions, methods, measures, and validations that a first reading cannot possibly glean the full essence.
Why then the rush? Because I want to alert as many practitioners as possible, now, to the book's content and structure and to its latent value to systems engineering practitioners as well as to others who do similar work whether or not they call it systems engineering.
Introduction to Systems Science is a distillation of approximately 1900 pages of the author's previous publications, based on a compilation of approximately 2400 years of thinking by various leaders and vetted by several hundred recent tests of its knowledge claims. Accordingly, this book is a well researched report, not a conjecture and not a compilation of the beliefs of a gaggle of contemporary `experts.'
The book starts with a description of the nine major deficiencies in systems work then gives his definition of systems science. The twenty remaining chapters are organized into five themes, namely, Foundations, Discovery, Resolution, The Practitioners, and Systems Science--all this in 224 pages. Another 170 pages comprising seven appendices, references, and an index provide copious supporting information.
The author claims that system science relies on four other sciences. Systems science is informed by the science of praxiology which is informed by the science of complexity which is informed by the science of design which is informed by the science of description. Three factors are key: human beings, language, and "thought about thought." The author thoroughly describes and examines the implications of each.
The author explains not only the technical aspects of systems, but also the role of the human as creative yet fallible observer, decision-maker, and explainer. This emphasis follows from the notion that the science of systems must be neutral even when practiced by humans, all of which are notoriously prone to bias, even if only subconsciously.
The author stresses the importance of language because the system scientist must provide a way for practitioners to operate in a language that is local but can still be translated into other local languages and into the language of trans-disciplinary systems.
The points regarding "thought about thought" clarifies that systems occur at all levels of abstraction and that harmony among such interlocking abstractions is key to consistency in systems thinking and explication. The multiplicity of problems in nearly every circumstance leads to the notion of "problematic situation." A map showing the relations between the relevant problems, called the problematique, indicates the degree of challenge facing those who would identify options, evaluate the implications of various combinations, and synthesize alternative models of responsive systems.
The Interactive Management (IM) method is portrayed as the unifying framework for relating human beings, language, and "thought about thought" to problems, problematique, options, and indicated actions. Devised and refined over several decades and tested in more than 200 projects, this method is the only one published to date that has proven sufficiently neutral and robust to help stakeholders in a variety of domains cope with the myriad factors in a larger-scale, complex, dynamic, problematic situation.
The author highlights the importance of well-posed models. Well-posed models are sufficiently devoid of naivety and preconceived notions, especially ones that are consistent and computable (as specified in Dr. George Friedman's recent book, Constraint Theory).
A structural model is key and the IM method includes an Interpretive Structural Modeling, ISM, technique (enabled by ISM software computations and prompts) that compiles stakeholders' information to reveal relevant relationships among the underlying problems.
The data required for computing complexity metrics is revealed by the ISM part of Interactive Management. These metrics clearly indicate the level of challenge inherent in any problematique and in any proposed model of an intended system. Rather than charging blindly ahead into system development, designers should make prudent use of these metrics to design a work program of complexity, thus avoiding cognitive overload and the resulting underconceptualization of the intended system. Although sufficient research has not been accomplished to clarify the relationship between complexity metrics and system development project success, it is likely that the success of systems projects is inversely proportional to their complexity indices.
Typical of the thoroughness of the author's research are the specifications for the minimum acceptable facilities both for conducting IM sessions and for the system design display area in which all those on a system project can become sufficiently informed. The facility size, wall space, and ambience significantly affect the quality of thought, dialogue, and design in systems projects.
If you are interested only in the how of systems engineering (such as the processes of engineering a system), then this book may not enlighten you much. If you are interested in the why, what, who, and when of systems science, then a thorough read of this book will be worth your time. The book's likely effect on systems practitioners will be to help us understand how to initialize and evolve whole-systems and a variety of domains.
Having applied many of the author's previous works and experienced an abbreviated Interactive Management session I am sure I will be reading Introduction to Systems Science many times--and so should you.
Jack Ring Fellow, International Council on Systems Engineering