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Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World with CD-ROM (Int'l Ed) Hardcover – 1 Dec 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education; International edition edition (1 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071179895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071179898
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 21.1 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Publisher

Incorporates a modeling approach: Modeling and models help students learn to visualize a business organization through structures and policies that create dynamics and regulate performance. Students gain a better understanding of how an organization's performance is related to its internal structure and operating policies'as well as to the operating policies of its customers, competitors, and suppliers.
Offers role-playing experiential exercises: The book offers diverse modes of learning, including role-playing exercises. This 'active learning' approach engages students, vitalizes the subject matter, and helps develop students' abilities to 'think on their feet.'
Utilizes case studies depicting real companies throughout: Case studies of successful design and implementation strategies are used to illustrate systems dynamics principles. This approach offers both realism and proof of the effectiveness of system dynamics principles when applied, in a practical fashion, to real business problems and situations.
Emphasizes the use and construction of simulation models and flight simulation exercises: Simulation models and flight simulators are used to develop principles of policy design. This permits both the exploration and the understanding of such complex issues as fluctuating sales, production and earnings, market growth and stagnation, the diffusion of new technologies, the use and reliability of forecasts, and the rationality of business decision-making.

About the Author

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

Inside This Book

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The greatest constant of modern times is change. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book while following a corporate course on Systems Dynamics. This is really one of the greatest textbooks I have ever had the chance to read. The wide possibilities of this modelisation technique are presented in a very progressive manner and with a lot of examples. The cases described in the book are worth the investment by themselves.
The first chapter should in itself be a must-read for any decent manager as it presents some fundamental concepts on the learning cycles and people's mental models (and why they block most change initiatives). These concepts are widely present in change management litterature but this is one of the most accurate and simple description of the process I have ever read.
Others sections of the book are also of tremendous value for anybody interested in process engineering, business change or strategy. The systems principles and some models described give an edge in understanding the key underlying causes to many business issues and how to deal with them in an adequate manner. (That is in most occasions not the most intuitive!)
In summary, this book is really a must and I hope it will become (as Kotler's Marketing Management in its own area) the 'Bible' of Systems Dynamics.
Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Sterman has produced a very comprehensive introduction to System Dynamics (SD) modelling for primarily business executives (or students in non-quantitative education programs). It is well written, will keep the reader engaged with both the style and examples and is relatively easy to digest. Little to no background in advanced maths is necessary to follow it or construct the examples mentioned and explained in the book (and provided on the accompanying CD).

The book follows most basic building blocks that should be included in an introductory SD course and I found it quite useful in that context. The only real gap in such a use is that the space and attention devoted to validation of SD models are somewhat lacking, at least when compared to the other parts of the book.

If, however you have a more quantitative background (maths, physics, engineering, etc.) many of the concepts will be familiar and then the book becomes more of a 'flick through' guide. The response from such users I have encountered was that it is often considered relatively basic.

On top of that even a complete knowledge of the modelling concepts and approaches contained within will hardly make you anything but a novice when it comes to real SD modelling. Attempting to try and model real business problems with only the knowledge acquired in the book is more likely to lead to disaster than real insight - for that to happen some comprehensive further training / coaching is required - potentially explaining the relatively slow spread of SD in the business world.

Finally none of that should detract from the really important work Sterman has done in the field of SD by writing this comprehensive work and everyone working in the field is well advised to keep a copy at hand.
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Format: Hardcover
I used this book for my class as business school. It is a great read for those serious about Systems Dynamics. very detailed discussion on methodologies...and the CD has some cool tools for building models. Overall, very nice buy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To buy this book is lose Your money. It is a disaster and it is
a shame for MIT to lend its name to anybody like Sterman.
To book i an endles talk and talk and TALK in 950 pages.
The modelling is not there and if it happens to be there it is impossible
to anderstand. All what is said in the book is a common knowledge
known by all living human beeings.
Never has so little been said in so many pages...
Sterman tries the best to fake his skill by present a referens list
of 1100 referenses. I do not think he has read a single one.
Before Sterman writes the next book I hope he will take an Intro course
in dynamical system an control theory at MIT.
Bo Andersson
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa03cbf00) out of 5 stars 36 reviews
129 of 132 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa020ba98) out of 5 stars Challenging Content but very readable 24 Mar. 2000
By RITMISProf - Published on Amazon.com
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.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa020bbe8) out of 5 stars The very best SD book on my book-shelf! 15 Nov. 2000
By GO - Published on Amazon.com
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.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa020bf24) out of 5 stars Essential if you lead strategy formation exercises 12 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
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.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0210300) out of 5 stars Best book on SD around 1 July 2001
By T. Chambers - Published on Amazon.com
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.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa02103fc) out of 5 stars Good book, but could be better ........... 30 Dec. 2002
By An avid reader - Published on Amazon.com
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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