Systems & Us

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Our Mission is to spread a framework for thinking holistically and engaging in meaningful dialogue about complex social systems – that language is Systems Thinking.

We aim to inspire our readers to…

  • question and revise deeply-ingrained mental models and unexamined biases
  • see the unseen and show others how to do the same
  • critically examine the consequences of social policies holistically, looking at not just the  short-term but also the long-term, not just the effects on one group but all groups
  • develop the habit of asking why and forming causal explanations for phenomena
  • understand universal truths about social systems behavior

We do two things on this site.

  1. We teach the language of systems thinking. You can learn the foundations of systems thinking, or check out our most popular post about reading causal loop diagrams.
  2. We write essays applying a systems thinking framework to real-world problems. A systems perspective asks why things work the way they do. We’re not just mildly curious about a problem, but we have a tenacious desire to understand the root causes of behaviors. This starts by acknowledging that systems are complex and have parts that are driven by different goals. Explore our essays on topics like professional sports cartels or smartphone business dynamics or abortions, where we identify systems archetypes and explore the dynamic relationships driving everyday systems.

The Systems Thinking framework requires intellectual honesty, critical thinking, empathy, and imagination. We hope you find wisdom in the framework and use it to examine your own mental models.


  1. Hi Andew! Robin Shepard at Wash U referred me to your site when I asked her to review my application essay for the MIT Engineering Systems Division. Can’t wait to read through these posts and hope we can connect at some point. Are you in the St Louis area? I’ll let you know if I head that way.

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