In this landmark work, NEW YORKER columnist James Surowiecki explores a seemingly counter-intuitive idea that has profound implications: Decisions take by a large group, even if the individuals within the group aren't smart, are always better than decisions made by small numbers of 'experts'. This seemingly simply notion has endless and major ramifications for how businesses operate, how knowledge is advanced, how economies are (or should be) organised and how nation-states fare. With great erudition, Surowiecki ranges across the disciplines of psychology, economics, statistics and history to show just how this principle operates in the real world. Along the way Surowiecki asks a number of intriguing questions about a subject few of us actually understand - economics. What are prices? How does money work? Why do we have corporations? Does advertising work? His answers, rendered in a delightfully clear prose, demystify daunting prospects. As Surowiecki writes: 'The hero of this book is, in a curious sense, an idea, a hero whose story ends up shedding dramatic new light on the landscapes of business, politics and society'.
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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 brilliant—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 world.
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?
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.
James Surowiecki is a columnist for the New Yorker. This is his first book.
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Book Description Little, Brown & Company, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0316861731