I was first introduced to Jamshid's work in 2002 through Dr. Susan Leddick. While Senge's Fifth Discipline had gotten me excited about systems thinking, Jamshid threw my thinking into another dimension. This the finest book on systems thinking and design architecture I've ever found. This is not an easy book to read as the concepts and ideas are not easy. However, those brave and bold enough to tackle it in earnest never exit the same. If you expect to lead and transform socio-cultural organizations (translation: any organization comprised of people) then you must understand that system if you want any chance to influence and transform it. Jamshid provides that understanding.
I've had the distinct pleasure of becoming a friend of Jamshid's after having met him several times and working with him on a few designs. This book is also the cornerstone to my MBA course I teach at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Russell Ackoff was a mentor and colleague of Jamshid's and a contemporary of Jay Forrester. Ackoff is one of the world's most recognized and renowned systems thinker. His witty writing and straight forward approach make for an interesting and informative read. Warning: he challenges much of what we have been taught to know and understand!
Another great book by Ackoff. This takes you through the Idealized Design process, which Ackoff created. In short, its about how to transform organizations and creating a preferred future - just what we are trying to do with our schools now. Creating the Corporate Future. Russell Ackoff. Ackoff's seminal work about how to redesign the future of organizations. As fresh today as it was in the early 80's when it was published!
Designerly Ways of Knowing. Nigel Cross. Argues that the discipline of design - creating things - is as important a discipline as any other offered in school but is virtually ignored in education. Published by the Board of International Research in Design (BIRD).
Management f-LAWS. How organizations really work. Russell L. Ackoff, Herbert J. Addison and Sally Bibb. A humorous look at Ackoff's musings and some elements of how he "tortured executive groups" with them. One diddy: "Business schools are as difficult to change as cemetaries, and for the same reasons."
What Designers Know. Bryan Lawson. The Architectural Press. One of the many books on my "to-read" list that I haven't gotten to yet. While clearly geared towards architects, the book seems to provide insight into the importance of teaching the discipline of design in schools.
Culture Matters. Edited by Lawrence E. Harrison. A collection of essays discussing how cultures and values shape human progress.
Critical Chain. Eliyahu M. Goldratt. The North River Press. A pretty heady book about value chains and how to prevent bottlenecks. Written as a business novel so it reads fast.
Leadership and the New Science. Margaret Wheatley. An amazing book and a very easy read.
A Brief Guide to Interactive Planning & Idealized Design. Russell L. Ackoff. A great short paper on how to utilize Idealized Design to improve organizational behavior. The PDF file is downloadable below: