“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
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 future.
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.
Despite the 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 corporations exist?
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. Download and start listening now!