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Andrew

Brisbane, QLD, Australia | Member Since 2007

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  • The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter than the Few

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By James Surowiecki
    • Narrated By Erik Singer
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    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. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

    Hamad says: "great discourse on group dynamics...."
    "Good topic but weakly presented"
    Overall

    The topic is excellent and I was interested in it to try to get some insight into what drives web based social networking and wikipedia style systems. The idea that having more people solving a problem (providing that they work together) is better than any individual is solid.

    However that's really as far as the book gets. There are a huge number of examples and the author has clearly spent a lot of time reading up. However, sometimes the point of quite lengthy anecdotes is either weakly made, or actually illustrates points counter to the author's intent that are not explored.

    The language makes use of "can", "may" and "should" liberally rather than "is", "does" and "will". This comes across as an attempt to mitigate against counter examples by suggesting a trend rather than a rule. This makes me think that the title would be better "The wisdom of some crowds some of the time".

    As a previous reviewer said, the basic premise is explained at the start and the stream of examples fails to add much, in some cases actually making you rethink some of the author's statements.

    In my estimation it does not try to credit or explain anomalies like warren buffet or steve jobs. But maybe I'm wrong.

    I give it three stars for having a good topic and for the time it must have taken researching the examples.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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