THE WISDOM OF CROWDS is a brilliant but accessible biography of an idea, one with important lessons for how we live our lives, select our leaders, conduct our business, and think about our world.
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"No one in this world, so far as I know, has ever lost
money by underestimating the intelligence of the great
masses of the plain people."
-H. L. Mencken
H. L. Mencken was wrong.
In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist
James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that
has profound implications: large groups of people are
smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliantâ€”better
at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise
decisions, even predicting the future.
This seemingly counterintuitive notion has endless and
major ramifications for how businesses operate, how
knowledge is advanced, how economies are (or should be)
organized and how we live our daily lives. With seemingly
boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose,
Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular
culture, psychology, ant biology, economic behaviorism,
artificial intelligence, military history and political
theory to show just how this principle operates in the real
Despite the sophistication of his arguments, Surowiecki
presents them in a wonderfully entertaining manner. The
examples he uses are all down-to-earth, surprising, and fun
to ponder. Why is the line in which you're standing always
the longest? Why is it that you can buy a screw anywhere in
the world and it will fit a bolt bought ten-thousand miles
away? Why is network television so awful? If you had to
meet someone in Paris on a specific day but had no way of
contacting them, when and where would you meet? Why are
there traffic jams? What's the best way to win money on a
game show? Why, when you walk into a convenience store at
2:00 A.M. to buy a quart of orange juice, is it there
waiting for you? What do Hollywood mafia movies have to
teach us about why corporations exist?
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