Mar 10 2017 (a 8 minutes read)

Systems thinking 101

I promised my good friend Alberta Soranzo a list of the various books and resources I use for both teaching my students the fundaments of complexity and systems thinking and in my own research and projects as part of the theory and methods for investigating and addressing experiences in cross-channel ecosystems. This is the result so far. Just keep in mind this is not *The List*, nor it's meant to be. It reflects practical needs, personal quirks, likes and dislikes, and quite blatantly leaves out all of the many sources which discuss complexity and systems in connection with architecture and city planning. The reason being I really believe those deserve their own “Architecture 101” post.

There's a few classics in here (Senge, Werner, Meadows, Gharajedaghi), a really good exercise book (Booth Sweeney), many books sitting at the intersection of design and strategy, and books that more tangentially touch on systems thinking while focusing on complexity (Mitchell), emergence (Johnson), or networks (Barabasi). I also included some of the books that explicitly discuss or explain loops and archetypes, provided a few management- or project-oriented sources, and topped all of that with a couple of academic articles that look at the big picture. Whether or not these will prove to be useful depends on your goals.

The list is in alphabetic order by author, and all entries link back to their Amazon pages. Hope you'll find it useful. Anyone who wants to explore more or different, my advice is to simply point your browsers to Systems Thinker, the Pegasus Communication publication which has been supporting the conversation around systems thinking since the 1980s and that is now available online. With contributors that include Senge, Ballinger, Kim, Ponto, Stroh, Booth Sweeney, Sterman, and Aronson, your only problem will be, very appropriately, where you set your boundaries.

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