This book is designed to be a ‘Day 0' introduction to International Relations. As a beginner's guide, it has been structured to condense the most important information into the smallest space and present that information in the most accessible way. The chapters offer a broad sweep of the basic components of International Relations and the key contemporary issues that concern the discipline. The narrative arc forms a complete circle, taking readers from no knowledge to competency. The journey starts by examining how the international system was formed and ends by reflecting that International Relations is always adapting to events and is therefore a never-ending journey of discovery. Unlike typical textbooks, there are no boxes, charts, pictures or exercises. The philosophy underpinning this book is that these things can be a distraction. This book, like others in the E-IR Foundations series, is designed to capture attention with an engaging narrative. The chapters are short, with simple paragraphs and clear sentences placing the reader inside crucial issues and debates so they can understand how things work, and where they fit in the world around them.