The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations
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What We're Saying
In Pursuit of Elegance author Matthew May reads around 200 books a year. That means he's read approximately 2000 books since the year 2000. Of those, he has picked five that he feels defined the last decade, writing "these 'big idea' books stand out because not only did they help us better understand the world, they gave us a new lens through which to view it. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
I wrote the following article for our first issue of In the Books, released two short years ago, but it seems unbelievably quaint now. Though it has mostly died down, the rise of Web 2. 0 and the effects it would have on our culture and the creative economy was a huge debate two years ago. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
Inc. Magazine is celebrating 30 years of publication this month and as a part of their coverage have put together "The Business Owner's Bookshelf" - 30 books people running small businesses should read. Here is the list in its entirety: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter Bernstein (1996) The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, by Guy Kawasaki (2004) The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson (2006) Brand New: How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers' Trust from Wedgwood to Dell, by Nancy F. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber, HarperBusiness, 270 pages, $24. 99, Hardcover, April 2009, ISBN 9780061721830 Books like The Wisdom of Crowds and Super Crunchers show that groups and algorithms beat gurus and experts consistently in the decision-making department. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
It seems just a bit ironic that the last page in April's Fast Company is a grueling review and warning of the business section of your local bookstore. Especially considering more than a handful of business book authors--including the Heath brothers, Dan Roam, Amy Sutherland*, Tim Ferriss, Robert Scoble, Fred Krupp--contributed to or were mentioned in the issue. The last page is Elizabeth Spiers' (founding editor of Gawker and Dealbreaker) article "Library of the Living Dead. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
Our prodigious effort to provide you a top-notch business library on inBubbleWrap continues this week with one of the most influential books of the past decade--The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowieki. I assume that because you follow this blog, you're immersed enough in the business book subculture to know about The Wisdom of Crowds. (If not, Todd will tell you all about it in the video below. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
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.