“No one in this world, so far as I know, has ever lost money by
underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain
people.” —H. L. Mencken Download and start listening now!
H. L. Mencken was wrong.
In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: 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
This seemingly counterintuitive notion has endless and
major ramifications for how businesses operate, how knowledge is
advanced, how economies are (or should be) organized and how we live our
daily lives. With seemingly boundless erudition and in delightfully
clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular
culture, psychology, ant biology, economic behaviorism, artificial
intelligence, military history and political theory to show just how
this principle operates in the real world.
sophistication of his arguments, Surowiecki presents them in a
wonderfully entertaining manner. The examples he uses are all
down-to-earth, surprising, and fun to ponder. Why is the line in which
you’re standing always the longest? Why is it that you can buy a screw
anywhere in the world and it will fit a bolt bought ten-thousand miles
away? Why is network television so awful? If you had to meet someone in
Paris on a specific day but had no way of contacting them, when and
where would you meet? Why are there traffic jams? What’s the best way to
win money on a game show? Why, when you walk into a convenience store
at 2:00 A.M. to buy a quart of orange juice, is it there waiting for
you? What do Hollywood mafia movies have to teach us about why
The Wisdom of Crowds is a brilliant
but accessible biography of an idea, one with important lessons for how
we live our lives, select our leaders, conduct our business, and think
about our world.