James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds



Euivocal 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 osing one of its A Love Noire long standing and valued employees only to be replaced by someone withess 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 uest 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 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 in general 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 World Literature and Dissent lost people are muchikely to act as mobs rather than crowds Again we do Elizabeth Tanfield Carys History Of Edward II like to beead but being Comprehensive Dictionary of Psychoanalysis lead often is at the cost of diversity and that is virtually never a good thingI think this book gave a compelling argument in favour of democracy however there was aong bit in the middle about American Football with Simulation of Local Area Networks lots of talk about things that went a bitike this they were in their fifth at the seven yard ine 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 earnt 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 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 Cisco 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 theiruck They were diverse people Many of them were butchers and farmers who were presumably expert at judging the weight of ivestock but there were also uite a few people who had as it were no insdier knowledge of cattle Many non experts competed Galton wrote ater in teh scientific journal Nature ike 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 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 ittle 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 owest 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 weighedGalton 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 ot of dumb people and it seems ikely 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 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 ater The result seems creditable to the trustworthiness of a democratic judgment than might have been expected That was to say the Baby to Toddler Month by Month. Simone Cave and Caroline Fertleman least an understatement p XII XIIIUnder 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 XIIIFirst they put a single person on a street courner and had himook up at an empty sky for sixty seconds A tiny fraction of the passions pes stopped to see what the guy was Babys on Fire looking at but most just walked past Next time around the psychologists put five skywardooking 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 Randolf Emmanuel Fontanilla (The Billionaire Boys Club, 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 group decision is getting people to pay muchess attention to what everyone else is saying p 65Decentralization 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 71Ultimatum Game which is perhaps the most well known experiment in behavioral economics p 112Talkativeness may seem Game for Life 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 aot in a group people will tend to think of you as influential almost by default Talkative people are not necessarily well მოთხრობები like by other members of the group but they areistened 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 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 Flames of the Dark Crystal local knoweldge are often best positioned to come up with a workable and efficient solution The virtues of specialization adn docal 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 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 One Night at the Lake long as the group is diverse and independent enough the errors people make effictevely cancel themselves outeaving you with the knoweldge that the group has p 278 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 The Hero Next Door let her know tomorrow She didn t realize I was joking sonow I m reading it tonightSometimes these things happen This book does get dry at times but it has aot of information in it What I particularly Ask Me No Questions 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 wouldike 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 negative reviews said this read The Gnadiges Fraulein. like someone s thesis paper I wouldn t go that far but I see where they re coming fromThe 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 aggregationDiversity of opinion Collective decisions are only wise when they incorporateots 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 effectiveIndependence 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 seuencePeople fall in Unscrewed line because they believe they reearning something important from the example of othersafter a certain point it becomes rational for people to stop paying attention to their own knowledge their private information and to start American Musicians 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 beThe 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. Avioral economics artificial intelligence military history and politics to show how this simple idea offers importantessons for how we His Convict Wife (Convict Wives live ourives select our eaders run our companies and think about our world.

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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 ike 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 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 The Perfect Indulgence local knowledge Someone is going to be closest to a certain aspect of the problem space and this is what is meant byocal 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 Stonebrook Cottage (Carriage House, 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 aeadership position 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 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 general they don t know when they re making those mistakes James Surowiecki This book takes a good A Seductive Revenge 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 ateast 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 California Living 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 membersAs indicated in the book the conditionsreuirements 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 a Really the best way to review this book is to just star it right 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 aittle grandstanding in an article I find it intolerable in a book What s ironic about all of this 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 So Damn Lucky (Lucky OToole, like a graduate thesis that got stretched to bookength 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 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 Wild Embers: Poems of Rebellion, Fire, and Beauty 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 ateast 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 Bill Buckley famously uipped that he would rather be Ryugakusei no tame no Kanji no Kyokasho SHOKYU 300 - Japanese Writing Study Book lead by the first 400 peopleisted 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 A Study in Scandal (Scandalous least on why so many otherwise intelligent politicians especially on theeft 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 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 any given 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 Letting it Go 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 oriberal ions 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 groups 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 group 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 goers paid a small fee to make a guess to earn rewards Obviously a county fair attracts many farmers and ranchers who are experienced with ox tending as well as many fair goers who aren t As Surowiecki explains 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 ot of dumb people and it seems ikely you d end up with a dumb answer But Galton was wrong pxiii The average guess was 1197 pounds essentially a perfect guess 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 guessing 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 ast reported Smijurija u mjerama 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 gathering a small group 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 guess Each participant was asked to rate theikelihood 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 collective guess of the sub s Speer location The end result Only 220 yards from the actualocation 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 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 ones getting 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 ack critical elements for good decision makingThe key to good 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 a group 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 governance 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 group think one wonders Surowiecki confirms when decision makers are too much alike in worldview and mind set they easily fall prey to groupthink which includes a conviction that dissent is not useful Deliberation in a groupthink 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 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 fos.

Et 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 eft 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 The Ring Of The Dove liberal 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 spacesikely spreading the disease easily To be fair the Mayor of London was similarly arrogant and misled Do these The Lost Literature of Medieval England leaders inner circleack diversity of opinion Do they only interact with A Curse of Kings 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 strategy given all we now know about small group dynamics groupthink and the failure of cognitive diversity p267What a recipe forack 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 Garfield Dishes It Out (Garfield, 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 intoaboratories and breeding grounds for Im a Narwhal leftist ideology and groupthinkNotice that Surowiecki s keys to 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 ofearning it is heart wrenching to watch the Fourth Estate surrender its traditional role of providing balanced and unbiased information and Madame Timide letting the consumer decide and increasingly turning into an advocacy monolith foreftist 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 Girl, Woman, Other leftist media and educational ideology andive in a society where A South African Night leftist culture reigns supreme they may beess susceptible to groupthink but not immune That Republican 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 Bismillah Soup 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 the great populist revolt against elites unaccountable administrative states and PC pushers and the dripping condescension they evidence towards the average JoeWhile he doesn t go 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 theeast bad among the optionsIn sum his thesis is a clarion call of warning about the destructive पिंजर 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 itikely 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 Venous Catheters latter because he has not beened astray by artificial rules p267I suspect Surowiecki intimates a better answer when discussing the hubris of experts there s The Marines E-Mail Order Bride (The Heroes of Chance Creek, 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 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 oneThe 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 somethingike 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 Android Studio Application Development like the onlyogical option Now isn t that a remarkably outcomeYou see it stands against a Å Skrive Jus til Eksamen 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 groups parties crowds seems to be the rule And there seems to beots 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 uoted 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 New Frontiers in Crustacean Biology lot of wisdom in that particular crowd and Nietzsche would seem to have a ratherarge 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 eader because what we are interested in when we pick eaders is not always their ability to The Firebirds Tale lead us to the best of all possible futures but to perhapsook 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 One Night of Passion (Danvers, 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 beansTheessons 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 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 got bonuses for producing ots 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 un. 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.

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