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Book : The Art of Systems Thinking: Essential Skills for Creativity and Problem Solving (1997)

The Art of Systems Thinking: Essential Skills for Creativity and Problem Solving

Categories: Systems Thinking

Tags: booksystems thinking


Author(s):O’Connor, JosephMcDermott, Ian

Published: 1997 • ISBN: 0722534426 • 288 pages • Delivery Format: Hard Copy - Paperback

Available from: Amazon (US)Amazon (UK)Amazon (DE)


From the Publisher:

Systems thinking goes beyond logic and sees through isolated events to the deeper patterns and connections. This text aims to unlock the mysteries of systems thinking and offer practical suggestions, exercises and tips to help the reader: problem-solve; think laterally; get a large result from a small effort; manage and negotiate with ease; revolutionize their business or life; and acquire essential skills to promote creativity.

Content / Structure

Part One - Thinking Past the Obvious

1. What is a System?

  • Emergence - whirlpools and rainbows
  • Simple and Complex Systems
  • The System as a Web
  • Stability and Leverage
  • Side-effects

2. Thinking in Circles

  • Feedback Loops - the essence of systems
  • Reinforcing feedback
  • Balancing feedback
  • Feedforward - back to the future
  • When we do not learn from experience

Part Two - Making Mental Maps

3. Mental Models

  • How we make our mental models
  • Mental models as a system
  • Challenging mental models

4. Cause and Effect

  • Three fallacies
  • The two sides of chaos

5. Beyond Logic

  • Taking Time
  • Self-reference and recursion
  • Limiting mental models
  • Mental models as a leverage point

Part Three - Thinking in New Ways

6. Learning

  • Learning as a system
  • Generative learning
  • What prevents us learning?

7. Perspectives

  • Inside out or inside in?
  • Flat earth thinking or global thinking
  • The road to hell

Part Four - Drawing Conclusions

Mapping Your Intuitions

  • Storytime
  • Running on the spot
  • Limits to natural resources
  • Inner and outer limits
  • Weight control
  • Moving the goal posts
  • Credit and debt
  • Repairing the damage, again and again...
  • When the cure is worse than the disease
  • Life is ike a poker game
  • The monopoly pattern
  • The tragedy of the commons

Part Five - Closing the Circle

Make Connections

  • You never do just one thing
  • Results are not proportional to effort
  • A system works as well as its weakest link
  • Time delays

Part Six - Resources

A Brief History of Systems Thinking

  • Bibliography
  • Resources
  • Glossary
  • Training
  • Index
  • About the authors

Copyright Joseph O'Connor and Ian McDermott 1997


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