When, in the forties, von Bertalanffy, a biologist, started writing about general system theory, relatively little attention was paid him. Gradually, however, scientists have become interested in seeing relationships among their fields and have been impressed by this promising effort to find common laws applying to such widely diverse subjects as biology, economics, psychology, and demography. Developments in information theory, computer and technology, and cybernetics are related to general system theory and have contributed to it.
In this book von Bertalanffy presents nine papers which he had published from 1940 to 1969 and a newly written introductory chapter. Together they present a clear picture of the theory and some of its applications, although with some repetition. Two chapters include mathematical formulations which are difficult for the nonmathematician to follow, but the rest of the book is easily comprehended. The section on psychiatry and psychology is a brief condensation of the