This isn't a blog post, but more of a blog-collection. 6 common things that systems thinkers like to say that are bupkis. We call them sacred cows of systems thinking because it is almost blasphemous to disagree with them, even though most have a much bigger bark than bite. Click on the links below (in the right column) to red the blogs on each sacred cow.


Table: 6 Sacred Cows of Systems Thinking

Sacred Cow True or False? Replacement Cow (and BLOG)
1. The whole is more than the
sum of the parts (a.k.a.,
False The whole is always precisely
equal to its parts.
2. All systems have a purpose. False The "purpose" of a system is
what it does.

3. Systems thinking is ____
[insert systems dynamics
or other models here].


Systems thinking is a plurality of
hundreds of methods and
that all cohere around four patterns
of thought (DSRP).

4. Systems thinking is holistic
(or alternatively, systems
thinking is anti-reductionism)

Systems thinking is balanced
thinking (both holistic
reductionistic, and/both not

5. Everything is connected. False Everything is connected, or

6. There is no system out 

There is a system out there, 
it just may be different from
your mental model of it.