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10 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Crowds

  1. says:

    I ve read James Surowiecki in the New Yorker I ve generally enjoyed his articles and found them fairly informative and engaging I think that perhaps he should stick to that writing articles This book was, well, disappointing And I suspect that it s because I expect from a book I expect an analysis that is balanced and rigorous While I am willing to accept a little grandstanding in an article, I find it intolerable in a book What s ironic about all of this is that he s written a book celebrating diversity of thought, but there s absolutely none of that in this book I thought that there were some interesting anecdotes, ideas and bits of information here, but that ultimately all the pieces did not gel into a whole Not only was the sum of the information not than its parts, I actually thought it was less The book also had problems for me in a number of key areas that totally detracted from any regard I might have had for it Pet Peeve 1 It s damned annoying when something is misrepresented It makes me wonder what else is being misrepresented that I can t pick up because I don t know what I don t know He totally misrepresented Keynes in a number of ways, quoting him out of context He quotes Keynes s statement, Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally, as if Keynes supported that statement The full quote by Keynes is this an investor who proposes to ignore near term market fluctuations will in practice come in for most criticism, wherever investment funds are managed by committees or boards or banks For it is in the essence of his behaviour that he should be eccentric, unconventional and rash in the eyes of average opinion If he is successful, that will only confirm the general belief in his rashness and if in the short run he is unsuccessful, which is very likely, he will not receive much mercy Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally. Keynes is actually praising the long term investor but stating how hard it is to not simply follow the crowd This is the opposite of what Surowiecki uses him for He later quotes Keynes s statement about the stock market Professional investment may be likened to those for newspaper competitions in which competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds to the average preferences of the competitors as a whole so each competitor has to pick, not those faces which he himself finds prettiest, but those which he thinks likeliest to catch the fancy of other competitors, all of whom are looking at the problem from the same point of view He then goes on to state that that behaviour is what Keynes recommends This is not only not what Keynes recommends, but what he is against The statement quoted is Keynes description of how the stock market works people speculating rather than making up their own mind based on fundamentals He then explains that this is why there are bubbles and crashes because people are simply following the herd Again, the total opposite of what Surowiecki uses him for.This is pretty egregious as far as I m concerned Pet Peeve 2He misrepresents facts He describes an experiment conducted in the late 1980s by Paul Andreassen Andreassen divided students into two groups Each group selected a portfolio of stocks, and knew enough about each stock to come up with what seemed like a fair price for it Then Andreassen one group to see only the changes in the prices of their stocks They could buy and sell if they wanted, but all they knew was whether the price of a stock had gone up or down The second group was allowed to see the changes in price, but was also given a constant stream of financial news that supposedly explained what was happening Surprisingly, the less well informed group did far better than the group that was given all the news the students who had access to the news overreacted The students who could look only at the stock s price had no choice but to concentrate on the fundamentals that they had used to pick their stocks to begin with.The thing is, financial information is exactly what the fundamentals are supposed to be The entire idea behind financial information is that you know what is happening to the company, and hence what its future prospects are, rather than being in dark and just speculating He then goes on to say, The problem of putting too much weight on a single piece of information is compounded when everyone in the market is getting that information Groups are only smart when there is a balance between the information that everyone in the group shares and the information that each of the members of the group holds privately You know what we call it when people trade shares on information that each of the members of the group holds privately It s called insider trading The solution to the problem of the market overreacting is not to disclose less information It s to enforce a trading halt when an important piece of information is to be announced so that the market has time to digest the information The annoying thing is that I m sure he knows this It just doesn t make for very interesting reading Pet Peeve 3He draws sweeping conclusions from cherry picked examples His book looks at the following events 1 The rise of the petrol driven car at a time when other alternatives like a steam engine car and an electric car were also commercially available alternatives 2 The fad for wooden tracks instead of asphalt roads, which eventually turned out to be a huge mistake The first incident is cited as an example of the genius of the market The second one is cited as an instance when the market got it wrong Why and when does a crowd get it wrong He gives two explanations A crowd gets things wrong when there is an information cascade People don t make up their own minds they depend on other people for information A crowd is best at making decisions when it is presented with choices How exactly it is that the first example differs in a material way from the other one is never really supported with hard researched facts There were choices in both the examples of the car and the wooden tracks And in both cases, the standard had a champion that went around hard selling his alternative Anyone remember the war between Betamax and PAL Or between Microsoft and Apple In each of those cases, the less efficient standard won But you re not going to see those stories in this book He gives another story how the market is a genius at determining facts Here he relies on the Challenger disaster and its consequence on Morton Thiokol This was the company that was eventually found responsible for the accident Of the four companies that were involved, its stock went down the lowest and the fastest even before official conclusions as to the cause were reached This is one of his proofs that the market knows the facts even before the facts are in He also talks about Enron, but as an example of how a top down managed company is bad Oddly, the fact that the market didn t know the facts about Enron doesn t come up Here s a final one He talks about how people on the street are able to move smoothly along as an example of the crowd being intelligent Several chapters down he talks about how traffic can snarl up and we can get stuck in jams But really in terms of fluid dynamics, there s no difference between one and the other Worse, he omits examples of situations when there are too many people on a crowded street and a panic just starts for no reason a stampede arises and people die Pet Peeve 4 The fact is that he doesn t really say anything terribly insightful Decisions are better made when we take into account all the facts and listen to divergent views that present various perspectives Following other people is useful sometimes other times it s disastrous Well, du huhhh, dude More annoying to me is when he says banal things that are wrong The banal but key point I m trying to make is that the important the decision, the less likely a cascade is to take hold To translate that, he s saying that when we have to make important decisions, we tend to listen to other people less and rely on our own judgment Really Tell that to the people who sunk their life savings into Savings Loans, into internet stocks, into mortgages they couldn t afford The opposite is in fact often true that when we are faced with a major decision that can have long lasting consequences, we often follow what seems to have been successful for everyone else In ConclusionI think he had a number of interesting facts that he tried to make too much of I think if you look hard enough, there are situations when a crowd s decision turns out right and when it turns out wrong But you could probably find individual decisions with the same result And I m quite sure that under some circumstances, a crowd will come to a better collective decision What I don t think is that you can usefully draw any general magic bullet rules about this Each situation is sui generis and specific to itself As always, the devil is in the details But that doesn t make for a very interesting book, or one that will sell, does it.


  2. says:

    I enjoyed this book I wrote a review and then read everyone else s review and decided to return to write something to the point Some people did not even finish the book so I d like highlight a few important concepts Surowiecki was trying to communicate.The four essential conditions that make up a smart or wise crowd are Diversity of OpinionEach person must have some private information that he she brings to the group Their own interpretation or their own understanding of the problem space or a related problem space IndependencePeople hold to their own reasoning to some degree DecentralizationIndividuals are able to specialize and draw on their local knowledge Someone is going to be closest to a certain aspect of the problem space and this is what is meant by local knowledge AggregationThe means to synthesize the thoughts of the team in to a collective decision.All four need to be met in order for the crowd to be wise If you experience in life has been that crowds are dumb, changes are one of these four conditions were missing.In order to reorient yourself to what Surowiecki is saying, it may require an entirely new framing of your world and some are just not willing to do that.The book is fantastic and required reading for people in a leadership position.


  3. says:

    This book begins with a bang and ends with a bang so I guess it is not too surprising that there is a bit of a whimper in the middle In some ways this book covers similar ground to other books I ve read recently, particularly Fooled by Randomness The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets In fact, it could be that I ve been reading far too many of this type of book recently and so they are all starting to merge into one.The kinds of people who do tests on other people did a test in which they asked a group of people to guess how many jelly beans there were in a jar There were 850 jelly beans in the jar and the average guess was something like 875 beans This is a mere 3% out from the actual figure The interesting thing in this story is that only one individual was able to guess accurately than the group was able to guess on average That is, individuals guessed randomly and badly, and yet, collectively their guess averaged out all of the bad guesses to such an extent that the group guess was better than virtually any individual guess and given that before counting you couldn t know which was the one individual to rely on than the group going with the group actually seems like the only logical option Now, isn t that a remarkably outcome You see, it stands against a lot of our most cherished beliefs and intuitions Those are that there exist in the world experts and to quote Laura Anderson, Only an expert can deal with the problem, because only an expert can see the problem But in fact experts often do remarkably badly at what they do, even in their special area of expertise Sometimes that area of expertise needs to be so narrowly defined that it becomes very hard to know what questions an expert is actually expert in Worse still is the fact that we are human and tend to have too high an estimation of our own expertise Our cherished beliefs are perhaps best summed up by that quote from Nietzsche, Madness of single persons is something rare, but the madness of groups, parties, crowds seems to be the rule And there seems to be lots of evidence of madness in groups, which is, of course, the opposite thesis to that put forward in this book There is a discussion in this book, for example, on market failures particularly bubbles and this can make crowds seem completely insane The most interesting example in the book was a discussion on a woman in Seattle who was standing on a bridge considering whether she should commit suicide during the peak hour traffic rush hour Naturally, this tended to hold up the peak hour traffic as she was being talked down by the Police But while the Police were trying to talk her down pedestrians and drivers alike both put out by this woman s antics started to call on her to kill herself quoted in the book as go ahead and jump, bitch The crowd finally won and the woman did jump Now, it would seem hard to argue that there was a lot of wisdom in that particular crowd, and Nietzsche would seem to have a rather large chalk mark added to his side of the board The point of this book is not to argue that crowds are always wise, nor that they are always right The point is to say that crowds of people often make the best decision better than the decisions of even the smartest individuals in a group Not only that, the group is generally a safer bet than a leader because what we are interested in when we pick leaders is not always their ability to lead us to the best of all possible futures, but to perhaps look rather dashing in a pin striped suit That is, the argument put forward in this book is that groups tend to do better at picking what is best for the group than individuals can, and also to point out when groups are most likely to fail The jelly bean example above is an interesting case in point Here we got a group of people to pick the number of jelly beans in a jar and they did better on average than virtually all individuals in that group at picking the number of jelly beans But the example gets even interesting After the group made its choice it was given another go This time they were given some additional information This information was that people should pay particular attention to the fact that there is an air gap at the top of the jar and that the jar is made out of thin plastic, and not thick glass Both of these pieces of information were true , but they also both pointed in the direction that would increase the magnitude of the already too high guesses the group had made Not surprisingly, the new guesses now made by the group tended to be even higher than previously and the difference between guess and number of jelly beans increased to 7% above the actual number of beans.The lessons from this are, I think, far reaching and profound Yes, groups can be too easily fooled, particularly by experts directing their attention, and that the words mob and riot are not nearly as much fun if you re not in a crowd all the same, I still disagree with Nietzsche Most of us, as individuals, are a bit nutty in one way or another we are also terribly fixed in our views In fact, there are numerous examples presented in this book to make the case that groups tend to be much rational than individuals.There is also an interesting discussion on centrally planned economies and free markets One of the clear problems with the Soviet Union was, it would seem, that as there was no market to direct what would be produced, people got bonuses for producing lots of what no one wanted It is not immediately apparent why Socialism should be diametrically opposed to free markets The notion that a Socialist economy, an economy whose stated aim is to provide what is in the best interests of society, should be interested in what the members of society wants hardly seems contradictory Perhaps the dichotomy isn t something we should be swinging between socialist control, market freedom With all the talk of market failures at the moment I m becoming increasingly concerned that we will be able to separate babies and bath water.I m also very interested in worker participation in their jobs For a society that spends so much time talking about the benefits of democracy, we clearly don t think or rarely think that those benefits should extend to the workplace And yet, as is also shown in this book, when democracy is extended into the workplace it brings unequivocal benefits to everyone As someone who finds much of the exercise of power to be about ego than the cloak of efficiency it seeks to dress itself in, extending democracy seems infinitely appealing to me.Tangential to this idea is something else noted in passing in this book, that often a company losing one of its long standing and valued employees only to be replaced by someone with less expertise actually has a positive effect on the business This is because groups tend to be far too exclusive and to only see as valid what they already know Someone new coming into the group often gets to be the truth sayer The major recommendation in this book, in its quest to really gain wisdom from groups, is to ensure the group is as diverse as possible and that everyone feels they can have a say There is quite a bit of talk about the downside of too much information, particularly too much speculation on the causes of what are probably random fluctuations but in general, diversity is better than homogeneity, despite how much worse it might feel at the time.The other core idea is that we should seek to do everything in our power to increase trust , as when trust is lost people are much likely to act as mobs, rather than crowds Again, we do like to be lead, but being lead often is at the cost of diversity and that is virtually never a good thing.I think this book gave a compelling argument in favour of democracy however, there was a long bit in the middle about American Football with lots of talk about things that went a bit like this they were in their fifth at the seven yard line and had to work out whether to play it safe and go for a field goal or take a 50% chance on and, frankly, I didn t follow a word of it If I ve learnt anything, it is that while sporting metaphors are difficult in English, they are impossible in American.I was particularly interesting in his defence of short selling in stock markets Nothing if not brave All the same, I think he makes a rather compelling case.Despite this, there were many worthwhile ideas in this book and I would highly recommend it.


  4. says:

    Two heads are better than one And a hundred heads are even better And a thousand are almost perfect Watch the asymptote as it approaches infinity You are getting veeeerrrry sleeeeepyThis is a very interesting concept, fleshed out into a very boring book It seems like a graduate thesis that got stretched to book length for publication in hopes of drafting the popular slipstream of writers such as Malcolm Gladwell.The premise is fascinating, and the first chapter delivers After that it reminds me of papers I wrote in high school, where I d state a proposition and then strip mine all available research materials in a singleminded quest for only supoorting information It feels very one sided.Overall, as I m sure you can tell, I found it a bit of a disappointment because it could have been a very enjoyable article or even a book if it wasn t so heavy handed in pursuing the thesis s applicability to every aspect of human endeavor.


  5. says:

    The Wisdom of Crowds is not an argument against experts, but against our excessive faith in the single individual decision maker I think there are two big problems with relying on a single individual no matter how well informed The first is that true experts that is, the real titans are surprisingly hard to identify The second, and important, problem is that even brilliant experts have biases and blind spots, and so they make mistakes And what s troubling is that, in general, they don t know when they re making those mistakes James Surowiecki This book takes a good look at the theory of Collective Intelligence which is defined as the shared wisdom or intelligence emerging from the collaboration and cooperation of individuals. Through numerous anecdotes and discussing several experiments, the author highlights the situations where the crowd came up with answers at least as good as sometimes better than experts opinions betting markets, guessing games, Linux, etc He also addresses the cases where the crowd failed to be wise the Challenger explosion, The Columbia space shuttle disaster, the stock market bubble, the bowling bubble, etc The reasons for why and how each of these stories and many turned out as either successful or unfortunate lie in the properties which define a wise group The author argues that, under right conditions, a group can and will be smarter than its smartest members.As indicated in the book, the conditions requirements for a wise group include Diversity of opinions , Independence, Decentralization and Aggregation Diversity guarantees that different perspectives from different individuals are brought into the decision process Independence ensures that people s opinions aren t determined by the opinions of those around them Decentralization certifies that people are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge Finally, Aggregation provides some mechanism to turn private information into a collective judgment Using these four properties, a wise group is able to solve three types of problems, namely Cognition, Coordination and Cooperation problems Cognition deals with problems that need deliberation and information processing These problems have definitive solutions Coordination includes problems that require members to organize their behaviors in order to work together effectively And, Cooperation requires self interested and often distrustful people to work together without a central system controlling their behaviors Unlike cognition, collective solutions to the last two problems, i.e coordination and cooperation, are fuzzier and less definitive.With clear prose and interesting little stories covered in the book ranging across diverse fields of economy, culture, history, politics, etc., this is a very practical and engaging book I d recommend it to all.


  6. says:

    As he walked through the exhibition that day, Galton came across a weight judging competition A fat ox hade been selected and placed on display, and members of a agathering crowd were lining up to place wagers on the weight of the ox Or rather, they were placing wagers on what the weight of the ox would be after it had been slaughtered and dresssed For sixpence, you could buy a stamped and numbered ticket, where you filled in your name, your address, and your estimate The best guesses would receive prizes Eight hundred people tried their luck They were diverse people Many of them were butchers and farmers, who were presumably expert at judging the weight of livestock, but there were also quite a few people who had, as it were, no insdier knowledge of cattle Many non experts competed, Galton wrote later in teh scientific journal Nature, like those clerks and others who have no expert knowledge of horses, but who bet on races, guided by newspapers, friends, and their own fancies The analogy to a democracy, in which people of radically different abilities and interests each get one vote, had suggested itself to Galton immediately the average competitor was probably as well fitted for making a just estimate of the dressed weight of the ox, as an average voter is of judging the merits of most political issues on which he votes, he wrote.Galton was interested in figureing out what the average voter was capable of because he wanted to prove that the average voter was capable of very little So he turned the competition into an inpromptu experiment When the contest was over and the rpizes had been awarded, Galton borrowed the tickets from the organizers and ran a series of statisitcal tests on them Galton arranged the guesses Which totaled 787 in all, after he had to discard thirteen because they were illegible in order to from highest to lowest and graphed them to see if htey would from a bell curve Then, among other things, he added all the contestents estimates and calculated the mean of the group s guesses That number represented you could say, the collective wisdom of the Plymouth crowd If the crowd were a single person, that was how much it would guessed the ox weighed.Galton undoubtedly thought that the average guess of the group would be way off the mark After all, mix a few very smart people with some mediocre people and a lot of dumb people, and it seems likely you d end up with a dumb answer But Galton was wrong The crowd had guessed that the ox, after it had been slaughtered and dressed, would weigh 1,197 pounds After it had been slaughtered and dressed the ox weighed 1,198 pounds In other words, the crowd s judgment was essentially perfect Perhaps breeding did not mean so much after all Galton wrote later The result seems creditable to the trustworthiness of a democratic judgment than might have been expected That was, to say the least, an understatement p XII XIII Under the right circumstancesm, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than teh smartest people in them Groups do not need to be dominated by exceptionally intelligent people in order to be smart Even if most of the people within a group are not especially well informed or rational, it can still reach a collectively wise decision p XIII First they put a single person on a street courner and had him look up at an empty sky for sixty seconds A tiny fraction of the passions pes stopped to see what the guy was looking at, but most just walked past Next time around, the psychologists put five skyward looking men on teh corner This time, four times as many people stopped to gaze at the empty sky When the psycholgists put fifteen men on the corner, 45 percent of all passersby stopped, and increasin the cohort of observers yet again made than 80 percent of peds tilt their heads and look up p 43 Wordly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES p 51 In a cascade, people s decisions are not made independently, but are profoundly influenced in some cases, even determined by those around them p 57 One key to a successful group decision is getting people to pay much less attention to what everyone else is saying p 65 Decentralization s great strength is that it encourages independence and specialization on the one hand while still allowing people to coordinate their activites and solve difficult problems on the other Decentralization great weakness is that there s no guarentee that valuable information which is uncoverd in one part of the system will find its way through the rest of the system p 71 Ultimatum Game, which is perhaps the most well known experiment in behavioral economics p 112 Talkativeness may seem like a curious thing to worry about, but in fact talkativness has a major impact on the kinds of decision small grouops reach If you talk a lot in a group, people will tend to think of you as influential almost by default Talkative people are not necessarily well like by other members of the group, but they are listened to And talkativenss feeds on itself Studies of group dynamics almost always show that the someone talks, the he is talked to by others in the group So people at the center of the goup tend to become important over teh course of teh discussion p 187 Instead of assuming that all problems need to filtered up the hierarchy and every solution filtered back down again, companies should sart with assumption that, just as in the marketplace , peple with local knoweldge are often best positioned to come up with a workable and efficient solution The virtues of specialization adn d local knoweldge often outweight managerial expertise in decision making p 212 found that the in the best companies, Employees and managers were empowered to make many independent decisions, and urged to seek out ways to improve company operations, including their own p 212 THe responsiblity people have for tehir own environments, the engaged they will be p 212 The idea of the wisdom of crowds is not that a group will always give you teh right answer but that on average it will consistently come up with a better asnwer than any individual could provide p 235 conditions that make a group intelligent independence, diversity, private judgement p 244 In collective decision making, it doesnt matter when an individual makes a mistake As long as the group is diverse and independent enough, the errors people make effictevely cancel themselves out, leaving you with the knoweldge that the group has p 278


  7. says:

    Maybe somewhere inside this poorly written, incoherent book, there s a decent short article waiting to be written Who knows, maybe that article has already been written, and that s why this foolishness has been perpetrated My heart goes out to the poor fool who had to edit this thing that s assuming it was edited, because you really can t tell by reading it What must it have been like before the editing Fortunately, the basic idea isn t hard to understand, and certainly it s repeated often enough Of course, it s also denied in various places, and then again there are numerous contradictions within the book Not to mention at least one basic math error But never mind My advice read the title and subtitle, absorb the wisdom in them, and go on to something else I read this book, I thought, in preparation for a scheduled discussion of it at the college Homecoming weekend That s one discussion I won t be attending Ciao.


  8. says:

    One of our VPs asked if I had read this and would recommend it for our company s global book club I said no but jokingly added that I could read it tonight and let her know tomorrow She didn t realize I was joking, sonow I m reading it tonight.Sometimes these things happen This book does get dry at times, but it has a lot of information in it What I particularly liked about it is that it referenced all kinds of studies This is not a book of opinions or a representation of a speaker s presentation in book form this is a book aggregating research and theories done on the subject of crowds and decisions over the years There are also pages of notes in the back if anyone would like to do further research I believe the intent here is to be a cross between a Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics, but it s not quite as accessible as they are Some of the negative reviews said this read like someone s thesis paper I wouldn t go that far, but I see where they re coming from The theme of the book is that crowds, when they re the right type of crowds, perform better than individuals, even very smart individuals He goes through a bunch of examples when crowds were wise the average guess of the weight of the pig was very close to its actual, sports betting, Linux and when they were wrong the Challenger explosion, the Columbia disaster, the Bay of Pigs He then talks about what characteristics makes crowds wise That boils down to diversity of opinion, independence, decentralization, and aggregation.Diversity of opinion Collective decisions are only wise when they incorporate lots of different information If everyone thinks the same way and has the same background, a crowd will be no smarter than an individual The individuals in the crowd need to bring their own experiences and knowledge to be effective.Independence When one person makes a prediction after hearing other people s first, this can affect the outcome and cause a cascade effect The problem, he says, starts when people s decision are not made all at once but rather in sequence People fall in line because they believe they re learning something important from the example of others after a certain point it becomes rational for people to stop paying attention to their own knowledge their private information and to start looking instead at the actions of others and imitate them Decentralization The virtues of decentralization are twofold On the one hand, the responsibility people have for their own environments, the engaged they will be The second thing decentralization makes easier is coordination Instead of having to make constant resort to orders and threads, companies can rely on workers to find new, efficient ways of getting things done Aggregation Crowds are useless if the diverse opinions are not aggregated in some way This is often the downfall of decentralization Decentralization s great weakness is that there s no guarantee that valuable information which is uncovered in one part of the system will find its way through the rest of the system All in all, worth reading Maybe don t try to do it overnight.


  9. says:

    Really the best way to review this book is to just star it, right


  10. says:

    Updated 4 12 09 I was handing out this book to all my friends and colleagues at work, especially our president, who seemed to think a small coterie of sycophants was all he needed.From an earlier review I wrote some time ago Wisdom of Crowds is a very insightful book about how we make decisions The author describes the dangers of homogeneity in promoting group think, something we will begin to see of in the Bush second administration as he builds his Cabinet with Yes men and women Analysis by social scientists shows that decisions made by groups that permit little diversity are often wrong and conformity to adhere to the majority opinion can be very strong Solomon Asch s studies on conformity showed that an individual would often agree with the group even if there was overwhelming evidence to the contrary For example, when presented with a card showing lines of different lengths and asked to pick the shortest one, subjects would almost always pick the one chosen by other members of the group the experimenter s confederates even when it was obviously not the shortest.Many of Surowiceki s arguments seem counter intuitive, but he cites a fair amount of evidence that the best decisions, on average, are always made by groups rather than individuals regardless of their expertise In fact, he says the power you give a single individual in the face of complexity and uncertainty, the likely it is that bad decisions will get made For the group decision making process to work the best, several elements must be present.1 A formal process for encouraging disagreement must be present 2 The group must consist of stakeholders and non stakeholders, i.e., people normally not part of the group should be present to make sure diversity of opinion is present Diversity guarantees that multiple perspectives are brought into the decision making process and that a broader range of information is included 3 the group must belief and see that it has the responsibility for making decisions If the decision is made elsewhere, the result is the opposite, i.e., bad results or at least not the best 4 individuals be independent and have that independence respected to avoid being swayed by a leader or one powerful individual,5 and there be a process for aggregating the opinions It s important that pressure to conform be suppressed.An intelligent group does not ask of its individual members to conform to the dominant view Instead it creates a mechanism that resembles a democracy or a market Individual group members get the opportunity to bring in their own information and opinions and are not forced to change their views Their independence must be explicitly protected.Much like army ants in a circular mill who die from exhaustion following a lost leader, humans will often indulge in group think and group action even if it is not in their interest to do so And the influence we exert on one another the likely we are to become collectively dummer A very good argument for encouraging independent thinkers and nay sayers The first half, or so, of the book is theory sounds dry, but it s really quite fascinating followed by some case studies.


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The Wisdom of Crowds download The Wisdom of Crowds, read online The Wisdom of Crowds, kindle ebook The Wisdom of Crowds, The Wisdom of Crowds a43364ad2abb In This Fascinating Book, New Yorker Business Columnist James Surowiecki Explores A Deceptively Simple Idea 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 With Boundless Erudition And In Delightfully Clear Prose, Surowiecki Ranges Across Fields As Diverse As Popular Culture, Psychology, Ant Biology, Behavioral Economics, Artificial Intelligence, Military History, And Politics To Show How This Simple Idea Offers Important Lessons For How We Live Our Lives, Select Our Leaders, Run Our Companies, And Think About Our World