Stafford Beer


The Heart of Enterprise

This is the 1979 companion volume to Brain of the Firm and addresses the nature of viable systems, those capable of surviving. It does not use the neurophysiological basis elucidated in brain, but develops the same theory from first principles. This book declares that every enterprise is a system, and in particular must be a viable system. Viability is not just a matter of economic solvency; we need laws that govern the capacity of any enterprise to maintain independent existence. The Heart of Enterprise is full of examples (actual, author–generated examples) taken from management practice.

Brain of the Firm

This is the second edition of a book (originally published in 1972) which has already become a management ‘standard’ both in universities and on the bookshelves of managers and their advisers. Brain of the Firm develops an account of the firm based upon insights derived from the study of the human nervous system, and is a basic text from the author′s theory of viable systems. Despite the neurophysiology, the book is written for managers to understand.