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Memories by Russell L. Ackoff

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For the late Russell Ackoff, the important principles and qualities on which his work was based - clear-sightedness, looking at the bigger picture, working backwards to dissolve problems, radicalism - crossed over into most, if not all, other aspects of his life. "Ackoff's Memories" tell of his experiences of serving in the US Army during World War II; of bringing up a young family; of encountering different cultures whilst working abroad. From analyzing birth rates in India, to a fireside chat with the Queen of Iran, to introducing theme parks to the US, the stories collected in this book lay bare the workings of a number of well-known businesses and other organizations - and the people who run them. They describe common attitudes, behaviors and assumptions, which, if left unchallenged, can destabilize or even destroy an organization. This book shows how thinking systemically leads to real organizational improvements in a variety of academic and workplace settings and - just as important - how failure to do so can be both personally embarrassing and damaging to the organization. Each story is used to illustrate a belief, principle or conclusion central to Ackoff's theories of Systems Thinking and Design Thinking. And each of them is told with his customary generosity, wit and wisdom.

Author Biography

Russell Lincoln Ackoff (12 February 1919 - 29 October 2009) was one of the 20th century's foremost organizational theorists, a respected consultant and Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate studies in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1941. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the US Army, stationed in the Philippines. He returned to study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his doctorate in philosophy of science in 1947 as C. West Churchman's first doctoral student. He also received a number of honorary doctorates from 1967 onwards. His career in Operations Research began at the end of the 1940s. His 1957 book Introduction to Operations Research, co-authored with C. West Churchman and Leonard Arnoff, helped to define the field. Ackoff was president of the Operations Research Society of America in 1956-1957 and president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences in 1987. A founding member of the Institute of Management Sciences, his work in consulting and education involved more than 350 corporations and 75 government agencies in the United States and beyond. Management grandee, he was voted one of the world's most influential business thinkers in a recent poll by the Harvard Business Review.
Release date NZ
October 21st, 2010
Foreword by Peter M. Senge Introduction by John Pourdehnad
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Triarchy Press
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