Dreadfully Ever After Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »
  1. $13.27 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

    Children and Other Wild Animals

    Brian Doyle 9780870717543

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$12.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Sociology- General

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

by

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

ISBN13: 9780385503860
ISBN10: 0385503865
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $12.50!

 

Staff Pick

Using anecdotes and statistics from such diverse sources as pre-election polls, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, traffic patterns, and jelly bean jars, The Wisdom of Crowds persuasively demonstrates that groups of people are usually smarter than their most intelligent individuals. Surowiecki, who writes the Financial Page for the New Yorker, brings concision, accessibility, and wit to this counterintuitive but pertinent idea.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Surowiecki is the New Yorker's business columnist, and at times his book feels like a series of carefully constructed pieces rather than a whole work. Still, he writes with the patience and geniality of a beloved professor, and his arguments are invariably witty and to the point. The Wisdom of Crowds draws a clear, erudite picture of the mechanisms by which our mass society works, and it is a refreshingly hopeful one." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

"The performance of groups is a wonderful subject, and Surowiecki has a remarkable eye for the telling anecdote, illustrating abstract claims with vivid examples. His central point is convincing. Groups, and even crowds, can be wiser than most and sometimes even all of their members, at least if they aggregate information. But there is a serious problem with Surowiecki's discussion: he does not provide an adequate account of the circumstances that make crowds wise or stupid..." Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“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.

Review:

"While our culture generally trusts experts and distrusts the wisdom of the masses, New Yorker business columnist Surowiecki argues that 'under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.' To support this almost counterintuitive proposition, Surowiecki explores problems involving cognition (we're all trying to identify a correct answer), coordination (we need to synchronize our individual activities with others) and cooperation (we have to act together despite our self-interest). His rubric, then, covers a range of problems, including driving in traffic, competing on TV game shows, maximizing stock market performance, voting for political candidates, navigating busy sidewalks, tracking SARS and designing Internet search engines like Google. If four basic conditions are met, a crowd's 'collective intelligence' will produce better outcomes than a small group of experts, Surowiecki says, even if members of the crowd don't know all the facts or choose, individually, to act irrationally. 'Wise crowds' need (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions. The diversity brings in different information; independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader; people's errors balance each other out; and including all opinions guarantees that the results are 'smarter' than if a single expert had been in charge. Surowiecki's style is pleasantly informal, a tactical disguise for what might otherwise be rather dense material. He offers a great introduction to applied behavioral economics and game theory. Agent, Chris Calhoun. (On sale May 18) Forecast: While armchair social scientists (e.g., readers of The Tipping Point) will find this book interesting, college economics, math, statistics and finance students could really profit from spending time with Surowiecki. National author promos and print ads will attract buyers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[T]he author argues persuasively that collective wisdom works better than the intelligent fiat of any individual....There is some individual, independent wisdom to be found here." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This work is an intriguing study of collective intelligence and how it works in contemporary society. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"The Wisdom of Crowds is dazzling. It is one of those books that will turn your world upside down. It's an adventure story, a manifesto, and the most brilliant book on business, society, and everyday life that I've read in years." Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point

Review:

"This book should be in every thinking businessperson's library. Without exception. At a time when corporate leaders have shown they're not always deserving of our trust, James Surowiecki has brilliantly revealed that we can trust each other. That we count. That our collective effort is far more important than the lofty predictions of those CEO-kings we have worshipped for too long." Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do With My Life?

Review:

"Jim Surowiecki has done the near impossible. He's taken what in other hands would be a dense and difficult subject and given us a book that is engaging, surprising, and utterly persuasive. The Wisdom of Crowds will change the way you think about markets, economics, and a large swatch of everyday life." Joe Nocera, editorial director of Fortune magazine and author of A Piece of the Action

Review:

"It has become increasingly recognized that the average opinions of groups is frequently more accurate than most individuals in the group. As a special case, economists have spoken of the role of markets in assembling dispersed information. The author has written a most interesting survey of the many studies in this area and discussed the limits as well as the achievements of self-organization." Kenneth Arrow, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Professor of Economics (Emeritus), Stanford University

Review:

"James Surowiecki, financial columnist for the New Yorker, builds a fascinating case....The Wisdom of Crowds is a subtly intelligent book that's fun to argue with: if it becomes a best seller, that will of course confirm the author's thesis." Time

Review:

"The author has a knack for translating the most algebraic of research papers into bright expository prose." Scott McLemee, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

A revolutionary look at the way the world works by the New Yorker's "Financial Page" columnist.

Synopsis:

A leading expert shows how to use the power of social media and crowd wisdom to improve our work and personal lives

Whether we need to make better financial choices, find the love of our life, or transform our career, crowdsourcing is the key to making quicker, wiser, more objective decisions. But few of us even come close to tapping the full potential of our online personal networks.

Lior Zoref offers proven guidelines for applying what he calls “mind sharing” in new ways. For instance, he shows how a mothers Facebook update saved the life of a four-year-old boy, and how a manager used LinkedIn to create a years worth of market research in less than a day.

Zorefs clients are using his techniques to innovate and problem-solve in record time. Now he reveals how crowdsourcing has the ability to supercharge our thinking and upgrade every aspect of our lives.

About the Author

SUROWIECKI is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he writes the popular business column, “The Financial Page.” His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Artforum, Wired, and Slate. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Igal, September 20, 2006 (view all comments by Igal)
Can a bunch of strangers out-think a team of focused experts? Under certain conditions, according to this intriguing book, yes. Author James Surowiecki cites numerous experiments and real-life situations to illustrate how a group of diverse people who cooperate in the attempt to solve a problem, and whose efforts are coordinated without compromising each person's independence, will come up with a better answer than even its most intelligent members working alone.

For example, in an attempt to locate a missing submarine, a hastily arranged team of people with very different skill sets came up with coordinates good enough for the military to find the sunken vessel! They had nothing to go on but some facts that had left rescuers clueless, and yet when their answers were averaged, an uncanny precision emerged. Convincing examples like this are provided throughout the book.

Surowiecki's hypothesis is most convincing when he writes about the solutions to specific problems, supporting his arguments with historical fact or known results. Average the guesses to how many jellybeans are in a jar, and you'll almost always get the most accurate answer.

He also hits the mark when he discusses market theory, and how individuals with self-interest make the market work like a smart crowd, sometimes even a wise one. He supports these notions by referring to numerous published studies, famous experiments, and some solid arguments.

It's important to remember that much of the talk on economics cites highly controlled studies, or very limited real-world studies. Life doesn't necessarily work as advertised, and that's why we have laws, regulations, courts, and lots and lots of lawyers.

Surowiecki's thesis also gets a little shaky when he ventures into the smoky world of politics. After all, a roomful of politicians doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the wisdom of crowds (though it does bring to mind the word wiseguys). And didn't a group of "experts" known as the Supreme Court decide an election supposedly meant to be left in the hands of a wise crowd known as the American voters?

Democracy, voting, ideology, these are big, hairy topics, and Surowiecki senses that he won't do them justice in his short book. In the end, he simply repeats a truth that we the public, as a wise crowd, know: Democracy is far from perfect, but still the best system of government we know of. And that, perhaps, is the wisdom of the crowd at work.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(13 of 27 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385503860
Subtitle:
The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything
Author:
Surowiecki, James
Author:
Zoref, Lior
Publisher:
Portfolio Hardcover
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Sociology - Social Theory
Subject:
Common good.
Subject:
Consensus
Subject:
Consumer Behavior - General
Subject:
Political Process - General
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Making & Problem Solving
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
1621
Publication Date:
May 25, 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. Changing Minds: The Art and Science... Used Hardcover $7.50
  2. Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  3. Capital New Hardcover $27.50
  4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without...
    Used Hardcover $4.50
  5. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an...
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  6. The Tipping Point: How Little Things...
    Used Trade Paper $5.50

Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » Management
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385503860 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Using anecdotes and statistics from such diverse sources as pre-election polls, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, traffic patterns, and jelly bean jars, The Wisdom of Crowds persuasively demonstrates that groups of people are usually smarter than their most intelligent individuals. Surowiecki, who writes the Financial Page for the New Yorker, brings concision, accessibility, and wit to this counterintuitive but pertinent idea.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "While our culture generally trusts experts and distrusts the wisdom of the masses, New Yorker business columnist Surowiecki argues that 'under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.' To support this almost counterintuitive proposition, Surowiecki explores problems involving cognition (we're all trying to identify a correct answer), coordination (we need to synchronize our individual activities with others) and cooperation (we have to act together despite our self-interest). His rubric, then, covers a range of problems, including driving in traffic, competing on TV game shows, maximizing stock market performance, voting for political candidates, navigating busy sidewalks, tracking SARS and designing Internet search engines like Google. If four basic conditions are met, a crowd's 'collective intelligence' will produce better outcomes than a small group of experts, Surowiecki says, even if members of the crowd don't know all the facts or choose, individually, to act irrationally. 'Wise crowds' need (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions. The diversity brings in different information; independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader; people's errors balance each other out; and including all opinions guarantees that the results are 'smarter' than if a single expert had been in charge. Surowiecki's style is pleasantly informal, a tactical disguise for what might otherwise be rather dense material. He offers a great introduction to applied behavioral economics and game theory. Agent, Chris Calhoun. (On sale May 18) Forecast: While armchair social scientists (e.g., readers of The Tipping Point) will find this book interesting, college economics, math, statistics and finance students could really profit from spending time with Surowiecki. National author promos and print ads will attract buyers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Surowiecki is the New Yorker's business columnist, and at times his book feels like a series of carefully constructed pieces rather than a whole work. Still, he writes with the patience and geniality of a beloved professor, and his arguments are invariably witty and to the point. The Wisdom of Crowds draws a clear, erudite picture of the mechanisms by which our mass society works, and it is a refreshingly hopeful one." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review A Day" by , "The performance of groups is a wonderful subject, and Surowiecki has a remarkable eye for the telling anecdote, illustrating abstract claims with vivid examples. His central point is convincing. Groups, and even crowds, can be wiser than most and sometimes even all of their members, at least if they aggregate information. But there is a serious problem with Surowiecki's discussion: he does not provide an adequate account of the circumstances that make crowds wise or stupid..." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "[T]he author argues persuasively that collective wisdom works better than the intelligent fiat of any individual....There is some individual, independent wisdom to be found here."
"Review" by , "This work is an intriguing study of collective intelligence and how it works in contemporary society. Recommended."
"Review" by , "The Wisdom of Crowds is dazzling. It is one of those books that will turn your world upside down. It's an adventure story, a manifesto, and the most brilliant book on business, society, and everyday life that I've read in years."
"Review" by , "This book should be in every thinking businessperson's library. Without exception. At a time when corporate leaders have shown they're not always deserving of our trust, James Surowiecki has brilliantly revealed that we can trust each other. That we count. That our collective effort is far more important than the lofty predictions of those CEO-kings we have worshipped for too long."
"Review" by , "Jim Surowiecki has done the near impossible. He's taken what in other hands would be a dense and difficult subject and given us a book that is engaging, surprising, and utterly persuasive. The Wisdom of Crowds will change the way you think about markets, economics, and a large swatch of everyday life."
"Review" by , "It has become increasingly recognized that the average opinions of groups is frequently more accurate than most individuals in the group. As a special case, economists have spoken of the role of markets in assembling dispersed information. The author has written a most interesting survey of the many studies in this area and discussed the limits as well as the achievements of self-organization." Kenneth Arrow, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Professor of Economics (Emeritus), Stanford University
"Review" by , "James Surowiecki, financial columnist for the New Yorker, builds a fascinating case....The Wisdom of Crowds is a subtly intelligent book that's fun to argue with: if it becomes a best seller, that will of course confirm the author's thesis."
"Review" by , "The author has a knack for translating the most algebraic of research papers into bright expository prose."
"Synopsis" by , A revolutionary look at the way the world works by the New Yorker's "Financial Page" columnist.
"Synopsis" by ,
A leading expert shows how to use the power of social media and crowd wisdom to improve our work and personal lives

Whether we need to make better financial choices, find the love of our life, or transform our career, crowdsourcing is the key to making quicker, wiser, more objective decisions. But few of us even come close to tapping the full potential of our online personal networks.

Lior Zoref offers proven guidelines for applying what he calls “mind sharing” in new ways. For instance, he shows how a mothers Facebook update saved the life of a four-year-old boy, and how a manager used LinkedIn to create a years worth of market research in less than a day.

Zorefs clients are using his techniques to innovate and problem-solve in record time. Now he reveals how crowdsourcing has the ability to supercharge our thinking and upgrade every aspect of our lives.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.