This is an unconventional book for an unconventional reader. It is intended
for those professionals who, in addition to their specialized knowledge,
would like to get a handle on life so they may put their special text into its
proper context. It speaks to those thinkers and practitioners who have
come to realize that learning to be is as much a necessary part of a successful
professional life as is learning to do; and that to remain unidimensional
is to become boringly predictable.
This book is about a new mode of seeing, doing, and being in the world;
it is a way of thinking through chaos and complexity. It is not another
“how-to” book, nor an alternative to what is already available. It is not a
variation on the tired theme of offering the latest version of the common
characteristics of the winners.
It also violates the golden rule of best sellers. I am told the experience
of dealing with too many ideas in a single book is way out of the comfort
zone of most readers.
However, the ideas in this book, although many, converge and create a
whole that is profoundly more beautiful than any one concept in isolation.
The real beauty, therefore, lies in experiencing the whole, seeing them all
come together fusing into one.
As for the choice between breaking the message or breaking the norm,
it was obvious which one had to go. If that meant being a minority of one,
so be it.
This book, nevertheless, speaks to everyone for whom the joy of thinking
is still alive and kicking and whose enthusiasm to entertain exciting
but unfamiliar conceptions is not yet exhausted.
In a nutshell, the book is about systems. The imperatives of
interdependency, the necessity of reducing endless complexities, and the
need to produce manageable simplicities require a workable systems
methodology, a holistic frame of reference that would allow us to focus on
the relevant issues and avoid the endless search for more details while
drowning in proliferating useless information.
Contrary to a widely held belief, the popular notion of a multidisciplinary
approach is not a systems approach. The ability to synthesize separate
findings into a coherent whole seems far more critical than the ability to
generate information from different perspectives.
This book, with a practical orientation and yet a profound theoretical
depth, goes beyond the simple declaration of desirability of systems
It deals with challenges of interdependency, chaos, and choice
using an elaborate scheme called iterative design.