One of my favorite books in the world is Systemantics, by John Gall. This irreverent look at systems and how they fail has a lot to teach a community that is attempting to re-work the systems of software development. Much of it justifies the “simple set of principles, applied” approach that most Agile methods use. It should also provide good insights into anyone trying to develop and architect complex software systems. The best kind of parody is one that’s hard to tell if it’s parody, because it’s so insightful.
The book is available from the author at the Systems Bible page.
A decent quick look at the kind of material found inside can be found here: Commentary on the principles of “Systemantics”, by Anthony Judge
And this article goes into more discussion about Gall’s laws of systemantics: Bart Stewart on Systemantics
UPDATED: Best quote yet: “Admittedly, it’s not easy to imagine what a self-organizing car engine would look like, but maybe it’s time someone tried.” -Bart Stewart