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Download Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations Audiobook, by James Surowiecki Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,202 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Surowiecki Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2004 ISBN: 9781415904404
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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, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future. 

With boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, behavioral 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. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily Erstine | 2/16/2014

    " The idea of the book, embodied within the seductive title, was more interesting than the actual content of the book, which was overall lackluster for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kylie | 2/16/2014

    " This book was not a very exciting read, and I think would have been better as a magazine article, but I'm glad I read it anyway because it did give me some ideas for how groups can make better decisions. Surowiecki says that given the right conditions a group will make better decisions than any individual in that group. The conditions are: diversity of opinion, independence of the members from each other, decentralization; and some way to aggregate individual's opinions groups. When groups make bad decisions, one of these conditions hasn't been met. If I'm ever a manager I will solicit employee's input by email prior to having a group meeting. Because once you are in the group, various factors make it unlikely that you will hear everyone's opinion, or really be able to evaluate the different information each individual has to offer. But it is critically important for an organization to be making decisions based on the collective wisdom of the group. I think all managers should at least skim this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shannon | 2/16/2014

    " The first few chapters were interesting/enlightening, but it went downhill from there. Sway was a much better read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 2/10/2014

    " I was a half-dozen years late and Surowiecki was a few pennies short of the hype, but I'm glad we met. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 1/29/2014

    " A conceptually very interesting book, well-researched and fluidly written. Some egs from behavioural finance will be familiar to anyone who read broadly in that field, but Suriowecki doesn't get to those till deep in, and the early egs are extremely broad-ranging and fascinating -- from locating lost submarines, to internal markets at corporations, gambling, the failure of intelligence agencies to foresee 9/11, bean counting, etc, etc -- is there no end to the questions we could potentially solve better with groups? Interesting too is the classification of problems into cognition, coordination and cooperation types. The challenge, though, is to identify why, despite all the evidence, there appear to be so many situations under which groups and crowds do not make good decisions. Here I felt it could have been more analytical - he does touch on the conditions necessary for a group to make a good decision (i) diversity (ii) decentralised and localised knowledge (iii) independence of thought (iv) ability to aggregate the diverse info and (I add) mechanism for decision-makers to take account of that aggregated info in making a decision; but more could have been written on where and why these so often fail, and where a different decision-making structure might fit better. But then that would be a business mgmt book, and this is after all straightforwardly a powerful argument for a powerful idea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan | 1/23/2014

    " funny thing about the wisdom of the crowds is that it was first discovered by Sir Francis Galton, the father of eugenics. He was trying to prove that a group of stupid people are even stupider but discovered that they were instead stunningly accurate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryanjustus | 1/17/2014

    " the first half of this book dealt with the theories of how crowds make decisions and the second half took on a number of case studies. I liked the whole book but the first half was really interesting to me. There were a lot of interesting insights into what types of problems crowds are good at solving and under what circumstances. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 1/15/2014

    " The book is well written and clearly explained. The author sticks to the premise. Many fascinating discussions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sachin Pendharkar | 12/5/2013

    " I can't remember the last time a book with so many interesting ideas fell down so badly when applied practically. Too many tangents and loose applications of theory. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 susie k | 12/4/2013

    " the ideas were all good and interesting, but the book was too long with so many examples i lost interest in keeping track. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chad | 12/1/2013

    " I got 75 pages in, got the point, got bored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jose | 10/31/2013

    " audio book, good sorta slow, overall interesting ideas that i will use for teaching "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon | 10/31/2013

    " Some fascinating ideas in there but it was a little too business orientated to be a good general read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Len Addinall | 10/17/2013

    " Fascinating look at how collective wisdom can be more accurate than an individual - even an expert. Very interesting examples provided. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 8/22/2013

    " A very interesting book. If you like informative nonfiction written in a popular, easy-to-understand format, then you'll love this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill Littell | 1/27/2013

    " In the same genre as Outliers and Freakonomics, this book gets the reader to look at statistics as a living, breathing being. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gus | 12/27/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. I didn't agree with everything but even when I didn't it was good food for thought. The book not only includes "wisdom" of crowds but also discusses the non-wisdom, that is when crowdsourcing or group approaches break down and give bad outcomes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brendan Brooks | 8/24/2012

    " Pretty interesting nuggets and thought provoking observations, but the premise of the book is quite self evident and on first read I may have over simplified it. Interesting to also consider the foolishness of crowds but the fact that the many can be more "correct" than the individual wins out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 6/13/2012

    " We only think we know who we are!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Praeymaekers | 5/7/2012

    " samen staan we sterker, en zijn we vooral veel slimmer... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Jafari | 3/23/2012

    " a provocative approach to the concept of democracy, and how much weight should be put to "the opinion" of the masses. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ethan | 6/9/2011

    " A creative look at how diversity leads to both successful and disastrous outcomes, and how a lack of cooperation, or groupthink, can cause problems. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dedrick | 6/1/2011

    " This was very informative and useful to me, both personally and professionally. It seems to have made a strong impact on the Internet and makes a strong case for mass intelligence. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaworu | 5/2/2011

    " Should have known better with a comparison to Malcolm Gladwell on the front.

    A mildly interesting idea with some neat examples, some misquotes and distortions, and nothing much aside from anecdotal evidence. This would have worked out much better as an article rather than a book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christian | 4/21/2011

    " I got a copy of this book in 2005 at an office seminar where James S was the presenter. I finally read it in 2010! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/5/2011

    " Very interesting topic but I feel like it could have been half as long. It just dragged on a little too much for my taste. But if you find the subject extremely interesting I would recommend reading it even if it's only the first few chapters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Audrey | 4/3/2011

    " I read this a few years ago and I often think about it while stuck in traffic "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hom | 1/6/2011

    " Insightful, but not wholly convincing. An excellent read nevertheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 1/3/2011

    " An excellent read. Surowiecki shows how the masses are sometimes smarter than the smartest person when working together to solve problems. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Graham | 12/27/2010

    " Fascinating and engagingly written examination of why the many are smarter than the few. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hans | 12/26/2010

    " must read for 2010 and beyond "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stuart | 12/4/2010

    " Great information, but comes at a slow pace. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 11/29/2010

    " In the same genre as Outliers and Freakonomics, this book gets the reader to look at statistics as a living, breathing being. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 11/16/2010

    " Non Fiction-very interesting - stretched my mind. "

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About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned thirty-seven Earphones Awards.