Russell L. Ackoff

Alternative names:

Russ Ackoff, Russell Ackoff, Dr. Russell Ackoff


  • Creating the Corporate Future:
    Presents a participative systems approach to interactive planning. Describes how to formulate the system of problems and opportunities that face a corporation.
  • Ackoff's Best: Timeless Observations on the Life of Business
    From managing teams, maximizing the effectiveness of information systems, and problem solving, to creativity, crime, and the role of the corporation in a democratic society, these writings are a cornucopia of insights, observations, and powerful lessons that will help you improve the effectiveness of your organization.
  • Beating the System: Using Creativity to Outsmart Bureaucracies
    "Coauthors Russell Ackoff and Sheldon Rovin have spent their lives studying how organizational systems work, and here they share both perversely entertaining anecdotes about the abuse of individuals by a variety of bureaucracies, and descriptions of
  • Systems Thinking for Curious Managers: with 40 New Management f-Laws
    Finished just before Professor Ackoff's death late in 2009, Systems Thinking for Curious Managers opens the door to a joined up way of thinking about things that has profoundly influenced thinkers and doers in the fields of business, politics, economics, biology, psychology. Although Systems Thinking was 'invented' early in the 20th century, even Peter Senge's best-selling "The Fifth Discipline" (Systems Thinking is the fifth discipline) failed to popularize the term. But now, in business and academia, in the public sector and in the search for solutions to the environmental problems we face, Systems Thinking is being talked about everywhere. This timely book presents 40 more of Russ Ackoff's famously witty and incisive f-Laws (or flaws) of business - following on from his 2007 collection "Management f-Laws". All those in this collection are new and previously unpublished. Andrew Carey's extended introduction ties these f-Laws into the rest of Ackoff's work and gives the reader new to Systems Thinking a practical guide to the implications of Systems Thinking for organisations and managers.
  • Management f-Laws: How Organizations Really Work
    A full collection of more than 80 of Russell Ackoff's management f-laws: the uncomfortable truths about how organizations really work, what's wrong with the way we design and manage businesses, what makes managers tick... and how we can make things work better.

Author Quotes

  • A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.

  • It is far better to do the right thing wrong than to do the wrong thing right.

  • If there isn't join in work, you won't get productivity, and you won't get quality.

    Invterview of Dr. Deming and Dr. Ackoff

  • The end of one problem may be the beginning of another.

    The Art of Problem Solving

  • Managers who don't know how to measure what they want settle for wanting what they can measure.

    Management f-Laws

  • The basic managerial idea introduced by systems thinking, is that to manage a system effectively, you might focus on the interactions of the parts rather than their behavior taken separately.

    On Purposeful Systems

  • Successful problem solving requires finding the right solution to the right problem. We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem.


  • Errors of omission, lost opportunities, are generally more critical than errors of commission. Organizations fail or decline more frequently because of what they did not do than because of what they did.

    A Major Mistake That Managers Make