Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World with CD-ROM
||Author: John D. Sterman|
List Price: $132.10
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Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Irwin (23 February, 2000)
Sales Rank: 55,436
Average Customer Rating: 4.69 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 4 out of 5
Essential if you lead strategy formation exercises
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.
I would give it 5 stars for the content except that the book is not available in e-Book format, forcing me to carry it with me in my laptop bag on flights(its a heavy tome at 900 + pages) and the software on the CD-ROM is not updated to the most current version one can download from the Vensim website nor can it be used for commercial purposes.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Good book, but could be better ...........
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.
Rating: 5 out of 5
5 stars is not enough!
I read an awful lot and most of the books I come across have about 20% of pages that are useful or informative to me if that. The rest tend to be filler. Not this one!! On virtually every page and paragraph in this book I found a gem!
This is one of those rare books that causes your brain to contort itself into shapes and positions that you were not previously aware of. It is also the kind of book that I can see refering to and re-reading many many times.
Sterman takes what can be quite a complex subject and evolves a storyline which is incredibly instructive but at the same time flows quite naturally and easily.
Having said that, while overall this is a very good read, some parts can be mind-numbing and mentally exhausting. I found myself on some occasions needing to rest and reflect after reading just a few pages. It has taken me months to get through this book with appropriate periods of rest and reflection between readings to let the ideas sink in. (That is in great contrast to most text books which I am usually able to get through in a weekend or 2 without great strain.)
While parts of this book have been hard work to get through (due to mental overload at times, not due to poor wriiting), it has been incredibly worthwhile and instructive.
This book has given me some invaluable insights and tools which I have applied professionally to great advantage; not the least of which is competitive advantage.
A tour de force!