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One of my favorite books in my reading list is Systemantics by John Gall. The first edition was published in 1975, but there's now a new edition (retitled The Systems Bible) and it's full of wry humor. For example, John notes that "A large system, produced by expanding the dimensions of a smaller system, does not behave like the smaller system." I quoted John in my OOAD book: "A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked" and "A complex system design from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system." On design he observes that "bad design can rarely be overcome by more design, whether good or bad." Another proclamation with which I especially resonate reads "Loose systems last longer and function better," a principle that fits well with emerging service-oriented architectures.