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For those intrigued by Systems Thinking but want to explore it in context of startups (or business in general), consider reading Scaling Lean by Ash Maurya [1]. The whole Customer Factory [2] is based on a causal loop diagram of McClure's Pirate Metrics (AARRR); Ash also incorporates a lot of Theory of Constraints into the book. Highly recommended.

Systems Thinking was also part of Intel's culture under Andrew Grove (at least at the leadership level, from what I can tell). You can see evidence of that in his super-acclaimed book, High Output Management [3], especially the first couple of chapters (though he doesn't refer to it directly). Rich Jolly, another executive @ Intel, actually has a PhD in Systems Science and also wrote a book, Systems Thinking for Business [4], although it's definitely a bit more advanced and more theoretical than the others listed here.

And, I whole-heartedly agree - Meadows' book is simply an AMAZING treatise of Systems Thinking. It's a great place to start regardless of your background (the beauty of ST is that it is applicable to a broad range of fields and disciplines).

As an aside, does anyone know of any good/free/open source tools for drawing causal loop diagrams, or better yet, running simulations?

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Scaling-Lean-Mastering-Metrics-Startu...

[2] https://leanstack.com/customer-factory-blueprint/

[3] https://www.amazon.com/High-Output-Management-Andrew-Grove-e...

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Systems-Thinking-Business-Capitalize-...




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