The Wisdom of Crowds Book Report

997 WordsJan 29, 20134 Pages
Title and Author: The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki Date of Publication: 2004 Summary of Book: I believe the best way to sum up the main point of the book is provided by the author when he says, “the idea of the wisdom of crowds is not that a group will always give you the right answer but that on average it will consistently come up with a better answer than any individual can provide.” From this quote, it is easy to tell the author’s main goal in writing this book is to advocate the use of collective wisdom when it comes to making important decisions in business, politics, financial markets, and many other facets of everyday life. In order to make his case, Surowiecki divides his book into two parts. The first part focuses on the three types of problems that collective wisdom can help with: cognition, coordination, and cooperation. It also covers the conditions that are necessary for a crowd to be wise: diversity, independence, and decentralization. The second part of the book mainly consists of case studies that show how collective wisdom succeeds or fails. In the case of the failures, it highlights which of those necessary conditions were missing from the process and why their absence caused the failure. Ultimately, the book provides insight into ways to make sure all the components are there in order to ensure collective wisdom in group decision-making. Strengths of Book The Wisdom of Crowds has many strengths that make it the interesting read that it is. Surowiecki employs the use of simple examples, experiments, and explanations to make his arguments make sense, and he does this so well that a reader on almost any level can easily understand them. In a book like this, where an author has decided to make a case for a concept that is radically different from the norm, establishing credibility is everything. If the author isn’t successful at

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