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Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World with CD-ROM Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0072389159 ISBN-10: 007238915X

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Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for  a Complex World with CD-ROM + Thinking in Systems: A Primer + The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Irwin (February 23, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007238915X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072389159
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Sterman (Lexington, MA) teaches at the Sloan School of Management and direct MIT's System Dynamics Group.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Go ahead; get this book and be happy.
Jim Thompson
Sterman's book is far and away the best and most comprehensive book on system dynamics for business.
Edward J. Garrity
The author writes clearly and you rarely have to read a paragraph more than once.
N. Mozahem

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 125 people found the following review helpful By RITMISProf on March 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The field of system dynamics was created in 1956 under the leadership of MIT Professor Jay W. Forrester to evaluate how alternative policies affect growth, stability, fluctuation, and changing behavior in corporations, cities, and countries. Forrester founded the System Dynamics Program in the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at MIT. John Sterman is currently Director of the System Dynamics Group at MIT.
This text is a summary of the wisdom and knowledge gathered over more than twenty years of research dedicated to the study of practical methods for systems thinking and the dynamic modeling of complex systems. It is well written, easy to understand, and worthy of serious consideration.
I believe the text is destined to become a classic. It is written in a straightforward style and does not require prerequisite knowledge of higher mathematics. Indeed, in the author's words, "one of the strengths of the text is the way it presents system dynamics with a minimum of mathematical formalism. The goal is to develop the reader's intuition and conceptual understanding, without sacrificing the rigor of the scientific method." This goal is achieved well.
The text opens with a succinct and well organized description of approaches to the study of complex systems. It develops a set of principles for successful use of systems dynamics and provides well-written overviews of the Modeling Process and dynamic systems.
It covers the construction of causal loop diagrams and describes their application in a variety of business and engineering examples.
This is one of the best texts in its field for upper division undergraduate courses and graduate programs. It will be useful to many in business, engineering, and science.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
John Sterman has written a superb book that masks the underlying calculus and reveals the capability of causal loop based situation analysis. The examples in the book are absolutely mind-boggling in scale and brilliance with which they are written. The wide applicability of system dynamics is revealed though the large problem spectrum covered in all the chapters of the book.
Without needing to run through the software enclosed in the book, one can easily perceive the dependant causation of a specific problem by following the simple rules expained early on in the book for drawing reinforcing and balancing conditions that drive the causes leading to a specific problem being addressed.
By focusing on the software (which is enclosed on the CD ROM) to develop a problem solving approach, one has to work hard to create a balanced problem and this is not easily done by merely reading the book. I am considering further training in this aspect to master the topic by taking some more ExecEd courses that John Sterman teaches at MIT Sloan along with Jay Forrester and Peter Senge or even taking the eight week remote learning course offered toward credit at the System Dynamics program at Sloan.
I deal with complex IT architectures in my work on a daily basis involving financial, technical and business driven dependencies for Fortune 1000 firms. I use causal looping as taught by John and others at MIT Sloan to understand the path to cut through the complexity and reach an action plan that I can recommend to my clients.
The book has helped me tremendously in my work in the last few months that I have been reading it on airplane trips between my office and customer offices. For a busy consultant, this is a tremendously useful way to spend flight time.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By GO on November 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is the ultimate resource for any serious learner of System Dynamics. Sterman covers all aspects of SD modeling in a witty and easy-to-understand- manner. He deals extensively with the foundations of SD modeling, treats extensively causal loop diagramming, the logic of stocks and flows, gives numerous examples of practical SD projects, makes an in-depth investigation into all kind of building blocks of SD models etc. All the models of the book are avaliable on the added CD in the Vensim, Stella and Powersim data formats. Although published just in spring 2000, it is IMHO already a classic. A last word: Business Dynamics is not cheap, but it is worth every cent or penny you spend for it. There may be other good or even excellent SD-textbooks, but "Business Dynamics" is simply outstanding and a category in its own.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T. Chambers on July 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
You won't find a better more informative book. This should be required reading for any consultant interested in solving real world complex business problems. It goes into detail with examples and stories about actual projects that any good management consultant should be capable of tackling.
An outstanding book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By An avid reader on December 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must for anyone with interest in business modeling and simulation. It is the culmination of Forrester's seminal book on System Dynamics + the 40 odd years maturation that has occured in this discipline since 1961.
Though this book with 900 odd pages is large, it could have been useful if it had at least one serious case study which flowed through all the chapters and linked all the concepts. This would have helped potential practioners. In its current form the book contains many examples to explain the concepts, but none detailed enough. Many a times the author mentions that the actual models were complex, and a simplified version is being shown in the book. This however does not help the reader to understand and appreciate the complexities involved. It is probably because the concerned organizations were not willing to reveal "too much" lest they loose their IP.
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