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The Wisdom of Crowds

Why the Many are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations

By James Surowiecki

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| Paperback | 9780349116051

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Book Description

In this landmark work, NEW YORKER columnist James Surowiecki explores a seemingly counter-intuitive idea that has profound implications. Decisions taken by a large group, even if the individuals within the group aren't smart, are always better than d Continue

In this landmark work, NEW YORKER columnist James Surowiecki explores a seemingly counter-intuitive idea that has profound implications. Decisions taken by a large group, even if the individuals within the group aren't smart, are always better than decisions made by small numbers of 'experts'. This seemingly simply notion has endless and major ramifications for how businesses operate, how knowledge is advanced, how economies are (or should be) organised and how nation-states fare. With great erudition, Surowiecki ranges across the disciplines of psychology, economics, statistics and history to show just how this principle operates in the real world. Along the way Surowiecki asks a number of intriguing questions about a subject few of us actually understand - economics. What are prices? How does money work? Why do we have corporations? Does advertising work? His answers, rendered in a delightfully clear prose, demystify daunting prospects. As Surowiecki writes: 'The hero of this book is, in a curious sense, an idea, a hero whose story ends up shedding dramatic new light on the landscapes of business, politics and society'.

11 Reviews

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  • 1 person finds this helpful

    An easy-to-read and though-provoking book about collective intelligent. It stresses, provided the crowd is independent and diversified, that the crowd can deduce better decision than the average individual.

    The concept is similar to the one propo ...(continue)

    An easy-to-read and though-provoking book about collective intelligent. It stresses, provided the crowd is independent and diversified, that the crowd can deduce better decision than the average individual.

    The concept is similar to the one proposed in another book, The Starfish and the Spider. The catch is that when there are too many people buying the same argument/decision, it creates the social interdependence that breaks the accuarcy of this theory.

    Why? One reason is the so called social proof. When the number of people in the bandwagon increase, the more general public it will attract, the less diverisified the group may become. Another point is called Infotmation Cascade. A few first-tryer may influence the public to a good or bad bandwagon. This is similar to the epidemics as mentioned in Tipping Point (mavens, connectors, salemen). Sometimes imatation is good, only if poeple do not follow mindlessly.

    To have a good balance, there ought to be an effective means for individual contribution be made known at the global level. Or else the crowd are not aware of it and cannot collectively decide whether it is good or not.

    Comparatively, the first half of the book on the basic advocation of crowd intelligent is more interesting than the second half on case study. Despite of this, this book gives fair perspective on different sides of the coins. It worths the time.

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    Waleswong said on Nov 10, 2010 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Ho letto La saggezza della folla (The Wisdom of Crowds)

    A) Se doveste incontrare una persona a New York, dove andreste?

    B) Se sapeste il luogo dell’appuntamento, ma non l’orario, a che ora ci andreste?

    C) Chi ha scoperto la causa della Sars?

    D) Perché i migliori amministratori delegati costruiscono sem ...(continue)

    A) Se doveste incontrare una persona a New York, dove andreste?

    B) Se sapeste il luogo dell’appuntamento, ma non l’orario, a che ora ci andreste?

    C) Chi ha scoperto la causa della Sars?

    D) Perché i migliori amministratori delegati costruiscono sempre una squadra?

    E) I cittadini comuni – disponendo delle informazioni necessarie e potendone discuterne tra loro – potrebbero essere in grado di capire situazioni complesse e prendere decisioni al riguardo?

    F) Dando per scontato che è impossibile sapere dove siano le informazioni più utili alla risoluzione di un dato problema, è più utile selezionare gli esperti giusti o gettare reti più ampie possibili?

    G) La natura di internet e di alcune sue realtà come Wikipedia o Google, non sono forse la dimostrazione continua che un sistema può funzionare bene senza bisogno di qualcuno che dia ordini?

    Risposte:

    A) – La maggior parte delle persone cui è stata posta questa domanda ha risposto: Grand Central Station
    B) – La maggior parte delle persone cui è stata posta questa domanda ha risposto: mezzogiorno
    C) – E’ stato il frutto del lavoro di 11 centri di ricerca internazionali coordinati dall’Oms, che hanno collaborato senza che nessuno dirigesse la ricerca
    D) Perché “in situazioni di incertezza, il giudizio collettivo di un gruppo di dirigenti batterà sempre quello del singolo dirigente più in gamba”
    E) Assolutamente sì. Disse Thomas Jefferson: “Se presentate un quesito morale a un contadino e a un professore, il primo lo risolverà altrettanto bene e spesso meglio del secondo, perché non si lascerà sviare da regole artificiali”
    F) Naturalmente, gettare reti più ampie possibili. La corsa all’esperto è una strategia dagli esiti sempre piuttosto improbabili
    G) Lo è. In effetti l’etica della rete rispetta la saggezza collettiva ed è ostile all’idea che il potere e l’autorità debbano rimanere nelle mani di pochi

    Il libro in una frase:

    "Diversità e indipendenza. Qualsiasi gruppo con queste caratteristiche può definire qualsiasi strategia e prendere qualsiasi decisione, come e meglio di qualsiasi esperto (o organizzazione di esperti). Se solo ne fossimo più consapevoli, che risparmio di risorse, e che crescita collettiva"

    Se penso che, quando ho visto questo affascinantissimo libro la prima volta, l’ho collegato alla scelta del telefonino da comprare…

    Se vuoi vedere il post originale su ohmymarketing.wordpress.com
    clicca qui:

    http://ohmymarketing.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/ho-letto-…

    Is this helpful?

    Coworking Cowo / Massimo Carraro said on Jul 8, 2010 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    The author suggests here that a bunch of dumb people actually can do better than 1 single genius. That is, 1+1=3!

    But, it is with certain conditions:
    1. The mass got to be big enough
    2. Each person need to make independent decision, t ...(continue)

    The author suggests here that a bunch of dumb people actually can do better than 1 single genius. That is, 1+1=3!

    But, it is with certain conditions:
    1. The mass got to be big enough
    2. Each person need to make independent decision, to avoid decision cascade
    3. The mass should be diversify enough, to avoid group think.

    This sound very good, and actually explained why deomcratic makes good sense, and why we should act as selfish as we can to create good market in this capitalist economy!

    BUT, I am not convinced, at all!

    The author able to quote a lot of very interesting examples to backup his book, but this is far from enough. I suppose any arguement can give quite some example if you are dig them out serious enough. What the author need to do is to provide a hypothesis! An explaination why 1+1=3 is working! This is something the author cannot do at all in this very thick book. But, this book should be published after "Fooled by Randomness", the author should know that seeing 20 million white swan does not rule out the possibility of black swan.........

    Just smooth talk does not help to convince me.

    Is this helpful?

    Samsara said on Jul 20, 2009 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    The idea is not brand new though the examples are interesting. Still a typical US book, full of 口水花.

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    HiHiLoLo said on May 29, 2009 | Add your feedback

Book Details

  • Rating:
    (64)
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  • English Books
  • Paperback 320 Pages
  • ISBN-10: 0349116059
  • ISBN-13: 9780349116051
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publish date: 2005-03-03
  • Dimensions: 129 mm x 806 mm x 1,257 mm
  • Also available as: Hardcover , Audio CD , Audio Cassette , eBook
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