Introduction to Systems Thinking

Resource, Author(s), Date of Publication

Brief Description

Ordering Information

Applying Systems Archetypes, Daniel H. Kim & Colleen P. Lannon, 1997

Learn the many ways systems causal loop archetypes can help build insight into everyday problems.


The Art of Systems Thinking, Joseph O’Connor & Ian McDermott, 1997

A straightforward explanation of systems thinking with practical applications, exercises and examples


Critical Thinking: Using Systems Thinking & Dynamic Modeling, Creative Learning Exchange in collaboration with a series of authors, 2012

This booklet includes a chapter by Barry Richmond describing the thinking in systems thinking and some of the basic tools of systems thinking.


Systems 1: An Introduction to Systems Thinking, Draper L. Kauffman Jr., 1980

A short, engaging introduction to systems thinking that uses light-hearted illustrations to help the reader grasp the concepts and tools of systems thinking

Systems Education, Inc
PO Box 29615
Minneapolis, MN 55429-0615

Tel: 763-560-6594
Fax: 763-560-25244


Systems Thinking Basics: From Concepts to Causal Loops, Virginia Anderson and Lauren Johnson, 1997

A clear and concise introduction to systems thinking tools with specific attention to causal loops


…that School in Tucson, James Morrison and Creative Learning Exchange, 2008

A basic introduction to systems thinking and a DVD that depicts adults who participated in a longitudinal study recalling the impact of their middle school experience with systems thinking


Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows, 2008

A clear synopsis of the skills needed to be a systems thinker that is particularly relevant for policy makers and change agents or your local bookstore


Case Studies and Antedotes

Resource, Author(s), Date of Publication

Brief Description

Ordering Information

Schools that Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education, Peter Senge, Nelda Cambron-McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Bryan Smith, Janis Dutton, Art Kleiner, 2012

This book is made up of stories and case studies that bring organizational learning and systems thinking to today’s schools and classrooms. or your local bookstore


Research and Methods Related to Systems Thinking

Resource, Author(s), Date of Publication

Brief Description

Ordering Information

Community Based System Dynamics, Peter Hovmand, 2013

This book introduces researchers and practitioners to the design and application of participatory systems modeling with diverse communities.

ISBN-10: 1461487625

ISBN-13: 978-1461487623

Published by


Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life, William Isaacs, 1999

A resource that describes the process of dialogue along with stories that illustrate its power and value or your local bookstore


Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory, George Richardson, 1999

An investigation into a way of thinking in social science that focuses on closed loops and circular causality or your local bookstore


How to Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom, Susan M. Brookhart, 2010

Aimed at elementary, middle, and high school levels in all subject areas, this book provides essential backgroud, sound advice, and thoughtful insight into the assessment of critical thinking and deeper learning.


Learning Causality in a Complex World, Tina A Grotzer, 2012

A book that encompasses a large body of research exploring the development of skills related to causality

Rowman & Littlefield Publications, or your local bookstore


On Dialogue, David Bohm, 1996

An exploration of dialogue as a method of communication that differentiates it from other ways people communicate or your local bookstore


The Superintendent’s Fieldbook: A Guide for Leaders of Learning, Nelda Cambron-McCabe, Luvern Cunningham, James Harvey & Robert Koff, 2005

A guide for school district leaders that offers practical lessons, exercises and questions for reflective practice

Corwin Press or


Literacy Resources

Resource, Author(s), Date of Publication

Brief Description

Ordering Information

Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems, Linda Booth Sweeney, 2008

Twelve stories that illustrate concepts of systems thinking, (e.g. interdependence, balancing and reinforcing feedback and nonlinearity

Click here for ordering information


History Lessons: How Textboks from Around the World Portray U.S. History, Dana Lindaman & Kyle Ward, 2004

Offers a fascinating challenge to the biases people bring to the understanding and portrayal of history. Samples from history texts from around the world provide an excellent resource to use with the Ladder of Inference. or your local bookstore

and 1-59558-082-4

Sample Lessons

Resource, Author(s), Date of Publication

Brief Description

Ordering Information

Dollars and Sense: Stay in the Black: Saving and Spending, Jeff Potash & John Heinbokel, 2011

Hands-on systems thinking lesson plans designed to help students understand the ins and outs of money management


The Shape of Change and The Shape of Change: Stocks and Flows, Rob Quaden, Alan Ticotsky & Deb Lyneis, 2008

Hands-on lesson plans designed to help students observe and understand how and why things change over time; great book for the beginning systems thinking teacher and/or parent


The Systems Thinking Playbook, Linda Booth Sweeney & Dennis Meadows, 2010

An engaging collection of hands-on exercises to help demonstrate systems thinking principles applied to fun-filled, low-risk learning challenges

Chelsea Green Publishing,