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Download The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done Audiobook, by Peter Miller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (173 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Miller Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9781596597242
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In a world where speed and flexibility are valued more than ever, leaders from the corporate boardroom to the military are looking for answers from seemingly unlikely experts - the ones in the grass, in the air, in the lakes, and in the woods. In this innovative audiobook, veteran National Geographic editor Peter Miller explains the basic principles of smart swarms - self-organization, diversity of knowledge, indirect collaboration, and adaptive mimicking - to show how swarm species such as ants, bees, and fish can teach us to tackle some of the most complex conundrums in business, politics, and technology.

By studying ant colonies’ simple governing rules, computer scientists have written programs to streamline factory processes, telephone networks, and truck routes. Termites have inspired climate-control solutions, and the U.S. military is developing a team of robots that behaves like a school of fish. Groups in nature are the real specialists because they’ve evolved strategies over millions of years to cope with uncertainty, complexity, and change - the same challenges that make our lives and businesses difficult today.

Leading scientists in fields from biology to physics, social psychology, and business management are all studying smart swarms to unlock their secrets, and Peter Miller takes us on a lively tour to show us how we can, too. A fascinating journey from the critter to the corporation, The Smart Swarm is an eye-opening look at small-scale phenomena with big implications for us all.
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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 2/12/2014

    " Fascinating studies of insects and how they work together to accomplish group goals, and how these principles have been applied to human situations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Doug | 12/9/2013

    " As a book about really cool things that animals do, it was very interesting and informative. As a book about how to apply those cool things to the realm of business, it was less so. There are enough differences between people and animals, and it seems that human conscious effort to prevent systemic failure might mess with the whole proposition of 'following simple rules to achieve surprisingly robust and complex and systems' too much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil | 12/2/2013

    " Some really good insight here. Seemed to be padded out and ran out of steam near the end, but valuable nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ravie | 11/20/2013

    " A nice book that combines science and management. Honestly, I wasn't aware of the fact that we humans could learn a lot from ants, honey-bees, termites and birds on problem solving!! An interestting book! A 3.75/5 for this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Kent | 10/16/2013

    " This a well written book that deals with how collective behavior in lesser animals works and how it may apply to man as to how we behave and decide and how crowds of people react. I found it fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Barretta | 10/5/2013

    " okay...some anecdotes that are useful in explaining concepts to others, but nothing really new new here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Hayes | 8/7/2013

    " I'm fascinated by emergent and self organising behaviour and what our species can learn from other inhabitants of this rock. This book is easy to read and absorb, even if it's your first foray into emergence. Really enjoying it as a bedtime read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 2/17/2013

    " Really liked this take on the "wisdom of crowds" genre. Very interesting embedded lessons. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bart | 11/1/2012

    " Easy reading book linking the power of swarms/masses (ants, bees, termites, locusts, fish, etc) to our world (e.g. web 2.0, design of robotics, group behaviour, economy bubbles, etc). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily Sours | 5/23/2012

    " EXCELLENT. from tickling locusts to creating cgi orcs in the lord of the rings movie trilogy, swarms are used for almost anything you can think of. this book also explains how flocks of birds and schools of fish move in concert. recommended for everyone!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaveh | 4/26/2012

    " Fascinating insight into the nature of collective behaviour, showing how different species, including our own, can benefit or suffer from various swarm patterns. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikos Skantzos | 9/5/2011

    " It's very hard to find good popular science books that are talking about features of everyday life. The book achieves to educate and entertain at the same time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darin | 6/25/2011

    " A very interesting first read on the theory of crowds and complex systems of organisms. Not terribly complex, but a great introduction to the field. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marc Dorval | 6/9/2011

    " A good, quick read. This book left me in even more admiration for nature and the inventiveness of evolution. It's also fascinating to learn how we humans are learning to use nature's rules to solve some of our own problems. Worth reading for its educational and idea-generating bent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 5/8/2011

    " This was an interesting book. From info about the waggle dance that bees use to communicate to each other about decisions the hive needs to make to neat quotes like "none of us are as stupid as all of us" in reference to the dark side of groups, I learned and was entertained. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darin | 4/9/2011

    " A very interesting first read on the theory of crowds and complex systems of organisms. Not terribly complex, but a great introduction to the field. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 11/6/2010

    " Fascinating studies of insects and how they work together to accomplish group goals, and how these principles have been applied to human situations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 9/15/2010

    " EXCELLENT. from tickling locusts to creating cgi orcs in the lord of the rings movie trilogy, swarms are used for almost anything you can think of. this book also explains how flocks of birds and schools of fish move in concert. recommended for everyone!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaveh | 8/14/2010

    " Fascinating insight into the nature of collective behaviour, showing how different species, including our own, can benefit or suffer from various swarm patterns. "

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About the Author

Peter Miller is a senior editor at National Geographic and has served as a writer and editor at the magazine for more than twenty-five years. He is the author of The Smart Swarm and lives in Reston, Virginia, with his wife.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.