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, 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.
©2004 James Surowiecki; (P)2004 Books on Tape
"Surowiecki's style is pleasantly informal, a tactical disguise for what might otherwise be rather dense material. He offers a great introduction to applied behavioral economics and game theory." (Publishers Weekly)
This is a very interesting theory and read (though not new any more).
Personally I found the financial markets chapters too long and elaborated and at times even self contradicting.
Nevertheless, it is a recommended read mostly to leaders and people-managers; at least if you can take your lessons out of it. but I also recommend it to others...
James Surowiecki isn't trying to make a point in this book - he's simply surveying what social scientists have learned about the behavior of groups and crowds over the last 50 years or so. He gives examples of different kinds of problems that groups try to solve, and he explains (broadly) when groups do better than individuals and when they don't. It's very interesting stuff, and told in an extremely accessible, conversational style. Laymen will easily comprehend everything. The narrator is very good, and does a good job of capturing the author's laid-back tone.
Actual social scientists, however, should not expect any radical or revolutionary new insights from this book.
It has been awhile since I have read this but it really sticks with me. It makes capitalism make sense in some ways. I should really go back and read it again. My family will have to put up with me saying "I was reading this book..."
Frank T. Rothaermel
I enjoyed the book; it demonstrates that intelligence can emerge bottom up. It has some shortcomings, however. It really doesn't go at the mechanisms of *how* intelligence emerges bottom up. Also, my preference would have been to have James Surowiecki read the book (he read the foreword), and not use a voice actor (a bit monotone).
very talkative book, not much substance, the "theories" are reallty hard to verify/falsify because of their general character.
More of anecdotes then proves.
After reading the brief information about the audio book and the positive reviews from the readers I eagerly decided to buy it.
Unfortunately for me, the content is simply not related to my level of reading (listening).
I only listened to halve way, of the first downloaded audio book; therefore I am not in a position to comment much; The little I listened to, it dealt with corporations, government agencies. Unfortunately I did not grasp the over all meaning or relation of the information. It was lengthy and boring to listen to.
I decided to pass on, to listen to my other purchased audio books.
In conclusion, I will definitely leave this audio book to listen to it again, in another more appropriate time, in the future... Maybe then, I will come to understand and appreciate its content.
For now I will have to rate it two stars.
and loaned it out immediately. In fact, it is now with the third reader and I have not seen it since. Surowiecki does a great job of developing his thesis, including an excellent discussion of the lack of feedback loops for experts (or, more accurately, that experts are seldom held--or hold themselves--to account for their predictions, prognostications and recommendations. He also artfully and accurately describes the conditions for independence within the crowd and the cost of not having that independence. This is a vey useful book for consultants, managers whose responsibilities include working with groups and for association professionals. I particularly recommend that "Wisdom of Crowds" and Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" be read together as the two books really form a strong basis for decision making.
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