The Wisdom of Crowds

The Wisdom of Crowds

James Surowiecki

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0385721706

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.











time. That does not mean that the record was the product of skill, nor does it mean that the record will continue into the future. Again, trying to find smart people will not lead you astray. Trying to find the smartest person will. IV In part because individual judgment is not accurate enough or consistent enough, cognitive diversity is essential to good decision making. The positive case for diversity, as we’ve seen, is that it expands a group’s set of possible solutions and allows the group

for the negative effect that sweeps has on viewership in the other eight months of the year, the affiliates don’t really care about those months, since their ratings aren’t being tracked then. It’s only a little bit of an overstatement, in fact, to say that the only shows the affiliates care about are those that air in February, May, July, and November. Far from wanting to use people meters, the affiliates are actively hostile to them. In fact, when Nielsen introduced people meters into Boston in

delay caused by driver reaction was absent. As soon as one car changed speed, all the others immediately adjusted. Over the course of four days, the cars traveled at sixty-five miles an hour for hundreds of miles, carrying real passengers, with nary an accident. It was an ideal vision of a perfectly organized highway. How would it work in the real world? Essentially, you’d create dedicated highways, by burying magnetic markers four feet apart along the road. (The cars use the markers to read the

their resources. Because their rewards depend entirely on their own efforts, there is little room for error in what they do. One person’s mistake can end up wrecking the entire group. The gang’s downfall, in fact, begins when it admits a new, unfamiliar member who does not follow the agreed-upon script and ends up disrupting the group’s well-laid plans. The third model can be found in movies like The Asphalt Jungle and Reservoir Dogs, where a group of individuals comes together to pull off a

there automatically, so that the point spread would rise or fall anytime there was a significant imbalance between the amounts wagered on each side. The Mirage would have no problem doing this; its computerized database tracks the bets as they come in. But bookies place a premium on making the opening line as accurate as possible, because if they set it badly they’re going to get stuck taking a lot of bad bets. Once a line opens, though, it’s out of the bookie’s hands, and a game’s point spread

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