Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail

John Gall
🗣️ Why I Think You Should Read It

Systemantics: How systems work and especially how they fail—John Gall
I think everyone should read this book, even if they have no interest in building systems. This book was written primarily to compose all the scattered axioms and laws of system designing. But it does a pretty good job of explaining the general science behind systems theory humorously and entertainingly with bad drawings from the author. I read this book just to explore something new, but oh god, the depth of thinking that went through each line of the book swayed me. I reread this book again and again, took tons of notes, and still, there’s a sticky note glued to my door with a quote from the book: “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked.”
This short book is the most thought-provoking book I’ve ever read. The book simultaneously explores the past, the present, and the future. One prediction of the author I find so amusing given our current climate of data breaches by tech giants, which John Gall predicted in his 1975 book: “It is conceivable that private citizens will begin bugging their own phone in order to know what is going on.” I never expected such a visionary prediction from a book written in the 70s.
Packed with ideas that make the reader stop and think, this book is an absolute must-read for anyone building anything (be it system designers, IT professionals, or bricklayers).