James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds



I ve read James Surowiecki in the New Yorker I ve enerally 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 The Evolution of Emily 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 notel 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 uoting him out of context He uotes 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 uote 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 The Darkest Prison 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 uotes 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 thenoes 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 uoted 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 forThis 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 AndreassenAndre This book begins with a bang and ends with a bang so I No Hands on the Clock guess it is not too surprising that there is a bit of a whimper in the middle In some ways this book covers similarround 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 oneThe kinds of people who do tests on other people did a test in which they asked a roup of people to uess how many jelly beans there were in a jar There were 850 jelly beans in the jar and the average Expedition To Surf Island 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 touess accurately than the Women and Islam group was able touess on average That is individuals Freshman Year guessed randomly and badly and yet collectively theiruess averaged out all of the bad The Robin The Kestrel (Bardic Voices, guesses to such an extent that theroup Harvard A to Z guess was better than virtually any individualuess and The Rice-Cake Rabbit given that before counting you couldn t know which was the one individual to rely on than theroup Kater George Im Urlaub going with theroup actually seems like the only logical option Now isn t that a remarkably outcomeYou see it stands against a lot of our most cherished beliefs and intuitions Those are that there exist in the world experts and to uote 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 uestions 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 uote from Nietzsche Madness of single persons is something rare but the madness of Integral Biomathics groups parties crowds seems to be the rule And there seems to be lots of evidence of madness inroups 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 uoted in the book as o 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 roup Not only that the roup is enerally 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 Beyond the Snows of the Andes groups tend to do better at picking what is best for theroup than individuals can and also to point out when roups are most likely to fail The jelly bean example above is an interesting case in point Here we ot a The Patriot Bride group of people to pick the number of jelly beans in a jar and they did better on average than virtually all individuals in thatroup at picking the number of jelly beans But the example ets even interesting After the roup made its choice it was Inventing the Future given anothero This time they were Understanding Women given some additional information This information was that people should pay particular attention to the fact that there is an airap at the top of the jar and that the jar is made out of thin plastic and not thick lass 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 uesses the Verdammt verliebt group had made Not surprisingly the newuesses now made by the The Way Between the Worlds (The View from the Mirror, group tended to be even higher than previously and the difference betweenuess and number of jelly beans increased to 7% above the actual number of beansThe lessons from this are I think far reaching and profound Yes Inverloch Volume 4 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 thatroups tend to be much rational than individualsThere 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 The Good and Beautiful God 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 waterI 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 uneuivocal 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 meTangential 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 becauseroups tend to be far too exclusive and to only see as valid what they already know Someone new coming into the roup often ets to be the truth sayer The major recommendation in this book in its uest to really ain wisdom from roups is to ensure the The Horse in Celtic Culture group is as diverse as possible and that everyone feels they can have a say There is uite 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 ineneral diversity is better than homogeneity despite how much worse it might feel at the timeThe 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 ood thingI think this book ave 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 Every Boys Dream go for a fieldoal 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 AmericanI 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 caseDespite this there were many worthwhile ideas in this book and I would highly recommend it 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 In this fascinating book New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea Large roups of people are smarter than an elite few no matter how brilliant better at solving problems fos.

KINDLE BOOK The Wisdom of Crowds author James Surowiecki – jimmychooshoes.us

Better asnwer than any individual could provide p 235 conditions that make a roup intelligent independence diversity private judgement p 244 In collective decision making it doesnt matter when an individual makes a mistake As long as the A Succession of Bad Days group is diverse and independent enough the errors people make effictevely cancel themselves out leaving you with the knoweldge that theroup has p 278 Really the best way to review this book is to just star it right Bill Buckley famously uipped that he would rather be lead by the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than the faculty of Harvard a populist observation which still brings a smile to our faces This book which I ve wished to read for some time finally explains the wisdom of Buckley s insight It also answers a nagging uestion for me at least on why so many otherwise intelligent politicians especially on the left say and do such stupid thingsThe simple answer is that diversity of opinion which the author calls cognitive diversity is the only diversity that matters Get enough unconnected adults together in a room with a mix of opinions and experiences and their deliberations will consistently produce far better results than The Multi-Orgasmic Man going to the experts This is counterintuitive in the extreme as we have been increasingly taught that one should trust a few heavy breathing experts in anyiven area public health social policy you name it to decide what is best for us plebs With most things the average is mediocrity the author explains With collective intelligence it s excellence p11 And later Heretical or not it s the truth the value of expertise is in many contexts overrated p32 You can imagine that this book was not well received by the Harvard faculty or liberal lions in Boston or elsewhereAmazingly the author James Surowiecki was a journalist until a few years ago at The New Yorker where he wrote the Financial Page column I say amazing as Surowiecki arrived at the venerable institution after editor Tina Brown had worked hard to make the magazine trendy edgy and by injecting politics dumber and dumber It was actually editor David Remnick who took a chance on him and for many years he remained a voice of reason within its increasingly politicized pagesHis refreshing thesis is stated clearly in the introduction under the right circumstances roups are remarkably intelligent and are often smarter than the smartest people in them pxiii Ponder that for a moment The smartest person even several of the most expert will regularly underperform the roup s collective wisdom Surowiecki is wonderfully categorical in saying this insight that under the right conditions imperfect humans can produce near perfect results has not been challenged p106The original experiment which underpins the Wisdom of Crowds not of Mobs which the author admits demonstrate the opposite took place over a century ago at a county fair in England There a British scientist named Galton stumbled on an ox weight judging competition where 800 fair The Great Passage goers paid a small fee to make auess to earn rewards Obviously a county fair attracts many farmers and ranchers who are experienced with ox tending as well as many fair oers who aren t As Surowiecki explains Galton undoubtedly thought that the average uess of the roup 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 pxiii The average uess was 1197 pounds essentially a perfect uess as the correct one was 1198 And notice that Galton s presumed attitude eerily echoes that of many of today s intellectualsHow could that be Luck Anti populists and elites the world over tremble at the answerYet uessing the weight of an animal is a rather simple assessment of a clear activity weighing something The introduction ends with a recent example involving much complicated calculations In 1968 the US submarine Scorpion disappeared on its return from a tour of duty in the North Atlantic Only the sub s last reported location was known which drew a potential search circle of twenty miles wide and many thousands of feet deep a potentially hopeless task Instead of The Life You Save gathering a smallroup of submarine experts the naval officer in charge assembled a team of men with a wide range of knowledge including mathematicians submarine specialists and salvage men Instead of asking them to consult with each other to come up with an answer he asked each of them to offer his best Tempting Meredith (Lovers and Friends, guess Each participant was asked to rate the likelihood of various scenarios what went wrong speed at the time steepness of descent which were collected and via a process called Bayes s theorem produced a best or collectiveuess of the sub s location The end result Only 220 yards from the actual location at the bottom of the seaEven so both these examples come from but one area of the problem solving arena which Surowiecki calls simple cognition problems mostly Inside MacPaint guessing something that can be known definitively Other areas where the startling wisdom of crowds also manifest include coordination problems what is a fair price for buyers and sellers how to drive safely in heavy traffic and cooperation onesetting distrustful people to work together even against their self interest including paying taxes and dealing with pollution There are times think of a riot or a stock market bubble when aggregating individual decisions produces a collective decision that is utterly irrational pxix But these are exceptions which tend to prove the rule and often lack critical elements for Othello (Shakespeare for Everyone Else, good decision makingThe key toood Fit For The Chase; Cars And The Movies group decisions he discovers is cognitive diversity and independence of thought because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest not consensus or compromise Paradoxically the best way for aroup to be smart is for each person in it to think and act as independently as possible p xixThe author fleshes out the ramifications of these startling observations in capitalist markets corporate decision making and democratic overnance where even the skeptical and eugenicist Galton realized after his county fair epiphany The result seems creditable to the trustworthiness of a democratic judgement than might have been expected pxiiiBut what about roup think one wonders Surowiecki confirms when decision makers are too much alike in worldview and mind set they easily fall prey to Luthor Huss groupthink which includes a conviction that dissent is not useful Deliberation in aroupthink setting has the disturbing effect not of opening people s minds but of closing them pp2538Allan Bloom s The Closing of the American Mind anyone Yet since its publishing in 1987 have we paid heed to its warningsWhich brings me to my contention of the startlingly poor decisions that many politicians especially of the left makeNot to pick on New York one of the bluest of blue states yet both the Governor and city Mayor made disastrous decisions during this pandemic Were they the result of liberal Variante, Vol. 2 (Variante, groupthink The Governor mandated nursing homes to open their doors to former and non resident Covid patients to free up hospital beds and forbade that the nursing homes test them for Covid This tragic order was disguised denied and only reluctantly reversed after a month of cascading nursing home deaths The Mayor ordered the public transport schedule subways and buses to be cut in half in the condescending belief that if he allowed full schedules it would encourage non essential workers to use them Instead it forced essential workers into many tighter spaces likely spreading the disease easily To be fair the Mayor of London was similarly arrogant and misled Do these leaders inner circle lack diversity of opinion Do they only interact with like minded people LikelyWorse we can now surmise how the Administrative state birthed by the ultra progressive President Wilson over a century ago has transformed into the ideologically bent and powerful swamp of today As Surowiecki explains And trusting an insulated unelected elite to make the right decisions is a foolish strategyiven all we now know about small Managers of Their Homes group dynamicsroupthink and the failure of cognitive diversity p267What a recipe for lack of accountability amid a plethora of poor decisionsSadly the recent examples are only the tip of the iceberg of disastrous public policy decisions spanning decades in Democrat controlled cities counties and states Due to the left s extreme disdain for opposing views think of the New York Times s recent firing an editorial page editor for publishing a well considered opposing view many of these places and almost all universities have been turned into laboratories and breeding Competitive Solutions grounds for leftist ideology androupthinkNotice that Surowiecki s keys to The Payoff Principle good collective decision making cognitive diversity and independence of thought are about true and productive diversity in thinking The tragic emphasis on cultural diversity and skin color these days contrary to Martin Luther King Jr s vision for America is in fact producing a monolithic conformity instead of true diversity in every policy area it touchesWhy do I suspect that Democrats are particularly susceptible Besides the rigid PC conformity enforced at almost all places of learning it is heart wrenching to watch the Fourth Estate surrender its traditional role of providing balanced and unbiased information and letting the consumer decide and increasingly turning into an advocacy monolith for leftist thinking As Surowiecki warns independence of opinion is both a crucial ingredient in collectively wise decisions and one of the hardest things to keep intact p39Given that rightist politicians and policy makers swim in a sea of leftist media and educational ideology and live in a society where leftist culture reigns supreme they may be less susceptible toroupthink but not immune That Republican Darkest Night (Birthright, governors tend to be better managers and make better decisions than their Democrat counterparts may stem from their freuent need to interact with big city leftist mayors On the other hand blue states tend to be uniformly blue with disastrous outcomes such as the spiraling pension debts overwhelming Illinois California and New York financesSurowiecki wrote his book prior to thereat populist revolt against elites unaccountable administrative states and PC pushers and the dripping condescension they evidence towards the average JoeWhile he doesn t o as far as saying the wisdom of crowds manifests itself in election results which sometimes resemble markets manipulated by corruption and purveyors of bias and erroneous information including many in the media he does second Churchill s wisdom that our democratic republic system is the least bad among the optionsIn sum his thesis is a clarion call of warning about the destructive lack of wisdom of almost all of our reigning elites the Harvard faculty includedYet how finally to interpret these startling results from the higher spiritual realm The author briefly opines on such wisdom in moral matters by uoting a founding father Thomas Jefferson for one thought it likely that they experts might be worse State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor he wrote The former will decide it as well as and often better than the latter because he has not been led astray by artificial rules p267I suspect Surowiecki intimates a better answer when discussing the hubris of experts there s little correlation between an expert s confidence in his judgement and the accuracy of it In other words experts don t know when they don t know something p278Even those with only a casual understanding of the bible know that the primordial sin the cause of Lucifer s fall was pride Many of today s experts and politicians untethered by a sense of humility in today s fashionably anti Christian culture are so pride filled as to dismiss in the name of progress the wisdom of their fellow man as well as the wisdom of our collective history. Avioral 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.

O identifyThe 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 eneral they don t know when they re making those mistakes James Surowiecki This book takes a ood 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 ood as sometimes better than experts opinions betting markets Rich Kids guessingames 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 The Perfect Collection group The author argues that under right conditions aroup can and will be smarter than its smartest membersAs indicated in the book the conditionsreuirements for a wise Bob Stevenson group include Diversity of opinions Independence Decentralization and Aggregation Diversityuarantees 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 The Offer 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 reuire members to organize their behaviors in order to work together effectively And Cooperation reuires 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 ie coordination and cooperation are fuzzier and less definitiveWith 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 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 heartoes 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 b One of our VPs asked if I had read this and would recommend it for our company s Inside Campaigns; Elections Through the Eyes of Political Professionals 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 tonightSometimes these things happen This book doeset 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 researchI believe the intent here is to be a cross between a Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics but it s not uite as accessible as they are Some of the 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 communicateThe four essential conditions that make up a smart or wise crowd are Diversity of OpinionEach person must have some private information that heshe brings to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Actors Telling the Story 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 isoing 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 decisionAll 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 missingIn order to reorient yourself to what Surowiecki is saying it may reuire an entirely new framing of your world and some are just not willing to do thatThe book is fantastic and reuired reading for people in a leadership position 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 Norman Thomas getting veeeerrrry sleeeeepyThis is a very interesting concept fleshed out into a very boring book It seems like araduate thesis that ot stretched to book length for publication in hopes of drafting the popular slipstream of writers such as Malcolm GladwellThe 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 uest for only supoorting information It feels very one sidedOverall 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 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 uesses 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 uite 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 uided by newspapers friends and their own fancies The analogy to a democracy in which people of radically different abilities and interests each et 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 wroteGalton 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 Formatting the Essentials of Web Writing (Copy Hackers, guesses Which totaled 787 in all after he had to discard thirteen because they were illegible in order to from highest to lowest andraphed 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 Wenn schon Weihnachten group suesses 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 uessed the ox weighedGalton undoubtedly thought that the average uess of the roup 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 uessed that the ox after it had been slaughtered and dressed would weigh 1197 pounds After it had been slaughtered and dressed the ox weighed 1198 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 XIIIUnder the right circumstancesm آنسوی پرچین باغ 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 aroup are not especially well informed or rational it can still reach a collectively wise decision p XIIIFirst 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 uy 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 aze 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 43Wordly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES p 51In a cascade people s decisions are not made independently but are profoundly influenced in some cases even determined by those around them p 57One key to a successful After group decision isetting people to pay much less attention to what everyone else is saying p 65Decentralization s The Key of David 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 Decentralizationreat weakness is that there s no In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories guarentee that valuable information which is uncoverd in one part of the system will find its way through the rest of the system p 71Ultimatum Game which is perhaps the most well known experiment in behavioral economics p 112Talkativeness may seem like a curious thing to worry about but in fact talkativness has a major impact on the kinds of decision smallrouops reach If you talk a lot in a Good Enough to Share (Good Enough group people will tend to think of you as influential almost by default Talkative people are not necessarily well like by other members of theroup but they are listened to And talkativenss feeds on itself Studies of I Never Danced with an Eggplant (on a Streetcar Before) group dynamics almost always show that the someone talks the he is talked to by others in theroup So people at the center of the Weaving Memory goup tend to become important over teh course of teh discussion p 187Instead 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 212found 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 212THe responsiblity people have for tehir own environments the engaged they will be p 212The idea of the wisdom of crowds is not that aroup will always ive you teh right answer but that on average it will consistently come up with Tering innovation coming to wise decisions even predicting the futureWith boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture psychology ant biology beh.

James Surowiecki Æ 9 Read

A staff writer at The New Yorker since 2000 and writes The Financial Page He came to The New Yorker from Slate where he wrote the Moneybox column He has also been a contributing editor at Fortune and a staff writer at Talk Previously he was the business columnist for New York He has contributed to the Wall Street Journal Wired the Times Magazine the Washington Post and Lingua Franca an