The Wisdom of Crowds : Why the Many are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations, Paperback

The Wisdom of Crowds : Why the Many are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations Paperback

3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


In this landmark work, NEW YORKER columnist James Surowiecki explores a seemingly counter-intuitive idea that has profound implications. Decisions taken by a large group, even if the individuals within the group aren't smart, are always better than decisions made by small numbers of 'experts'. This seemingly simply notion has endless and major ramifications for how businesses operate, how knowledge is advanced, how economies are (or should be) organised and how nation-states fare. With great erudition, Surowiecki ranges across the disciplines of psychology, economics, statistics and history to show just how this principle operates in the real world. Along the way Surowiecki asks a number of intriguing questions about a subject few of us actually understand - economics. What are prices? How does money work? Why do we have corporations? Does advertising work? His answers, rendered in a delightfully clear prose, demystify daunting prospects. As Surowiecki writes: 'The hero of this book is, in a curious sense, an idea, a hero whose story ends up shedding dramatic new light on the landscapes of business, politics and society'.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Business ethics
  • ISBN: 9780349116051



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

If the subtitle of this book had been "<em>when</em> the many are smarter than the few", I would have found it a bit more, well, honest. It starts by showing some circumstances where aggregating the views of large groups can get results better than any of the individuals in the group. But there are more cases in the book where group ratings and decisions go wrong than where they go right. Surowiecki seems to imply that if we could just get the right process for aggregating different views, we could overcome these difficulties. Real life rarely allows that.

Review by

Interesting and well-written, although it seems to loose focus in the end.

Review by

I enjoyed the book but ran out of steam a little during the later chapters about democracy and financial markets.</p><p>I did however, have many sparks of recognition when he was talking about the dynamics of meetings and how small groups emphasize consensus over dissent, leading to group think and poor decisions.