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32 Reviews
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & stimulating
This book confounded my expectations. I generally dislike books like this but this one is interesting, provocative and stimulating. I do not wholly agree with the central thesis but even in the sections that I disagreed with there was enough interesting material to hold my attention, it was refreshing to need to question one's assumptions and to think about the points...
Published on 25 April 2005 by John E. Davidson

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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never quite enough detail
The central premise of the book is an interesting one - that taking the average of a large number of individual viewpoints is likely to give a better result than taking the view of a single (or small number) of experts.

The paragraph above is, of course, an oversimplification. The book does go into rather more detail about when this works, and when it...
Published on 25 Aug 2006 by Mark Harrison


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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting theory, 10 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
Really good book on the way a crowd can have a better guess at the solution to a problem that an expert.

Well worth reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars The wisdom of James Surowiecki, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
This book is a truly definitive insight into groups and crowds - how they behave and how you can lead them to greatness. Ever wondered why groups act, react and make decisions? This is not just an insight into how people interact with each other, but a view of human nature itself - highly recommended
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights about the crowds thinking, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
The book is really interesting. Telling and analyzing stories about different situations where harnessing the wisdom of the many pays more than an expert opinion. It goes far into cooperation and collaboration and links studies to real time events. Interesting reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Does not dethrone leadership, can inspire team leaders., 17 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
As the title suggest crowds can be wise. I guess a lot of people would never concur, others will be happy to indicate situations when collective wisdom can outperform most brilliant leaders. And there are situations, which cannot be managed at all, and the whole concept of leadership is not applicable. Take street traffic for example. No leader exists, only the set of simple rules to be respected and followed and apparently same goal uniting all drivers: to reach the target and not get killed on the way. Is this a collective wisdom or not? Whatever the answer, the point is "The wisdom of crowds" is not against leadership as it seems to be positioned. After reading the book it looks to me just like a marketing trick designed to create a buzz through controversy but the book is nowhere near dethroning leadership.

Take space shuttle case for example. What it proves is not that leadership as a management formula is destined to fail. Instead it makes a solid case about how disastrous a leadership can be when a leader is missing some of necessary, even basic skills like listening to his peers and nurturing deeper reasoning within the team rather than assuming he knows everything. So don't be discouraged and expect no manifesto of management revolution. Instead look for teamwork hints and tips which You can hopefully find inspiring despite being somewhat obvious. Like what it takes for a "wisdom of crowds" to be really fruitful and working to help you meet your goals as a manager, or a leader? One of the answers I will remember: take really good care about versatility and different background of team members. Mix them well, challenge them, expect best results.

If you take this kind of pragmatic approach which seems to be in contradiction to aura surrounding the book, than you can find it insightful. If you expect it however to overthrow the leadership as a concept, unless you already are convinced it should give place to some alternative, more democratic approach to management, you will not become convinced any further.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea -- but not enough for a book, 26 July 2004
By 
Bobby Elliott (Erskine, UK) - See all my reviews
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The premise of this book is interesting and the argument is well made. The book's premise is simple but powerful - large, heterogenious groups make good decisions if the decisions of the group can be aggregated in some way. In fact, they make better decisions than lone experts or even small groups of experts. Powerful stuff and persuasively argued.
The problem is that both the premise and argument could have been made in 27 pages - rather than 273. So, instead, he makes the same point again and again and again... and it all becomes a little repetitive and boring. In fact, I stopped learning anything half way through the book and my attention started to waver during the last quarter. I was relieved to finish it.
The book completely omits the Internet - a medium ready-made for large, heterogenius, aggregated groups. This is a pretty amazing omission which seriously damages the book.
There will be much better books on group decision making (and apply it to the Internet) but the first 100 pages of this one makes interesting reading.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We go one we go all, 13 Nov 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Lisboa, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
Surely a must have for those interested in crowd behaviour, flow of information and social networks.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !!!, 27 Oct 2010
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This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
Just got delivered this book (2of2) on time and it's in excellent condition !!!

What a bargain and so full of knowledge !!!

Thanks Amazon!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most inspiring book i've read in a long time, 18 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
This is the one piece of influence that has changed my line of thinking the most. From stock markets, to prediction markets to human behavior, Surowiecki covers everything in a light and refreshing way that entertains and enlightens at the same time.

get it, read it.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New and fascinating - and so obviously true, 17 Sep 2004
By A Customer
Always take one serious book on holiday - and this year it was the Wisdom of Crowds having heard an interesting review of it on Radio 4. So glad I did - its one of those books which you read and think "yes thats another piece of life's jigsaw that I understand now". The examples used to prove the point are diverse and brilliant from guessing jelly beans in a bottle, to how google works, to optimising the new product development portfolio of a global corporate.
Would have been 5 stars had the overal structure of the book made more sense to me - but that could be just me.
A must for anyone seriously interested on a new perspective on improving decision making, behavioural economic, or simply understanding how people can better work together to find the right answers. Should be mandatory for all students of economics and business.
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13 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The folly of consumers, 13 Nov 2007
By 
John Mc Auley "jj" (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few (Paperback)
The fact that this book sold dispels Surowiecki's entire thesis. The content is anecdotal at best and delivered in a brutal slap stick style. He begins every chapter with a 'story', something like, in 1989 a young boy and his aging father wandered through a greenish hinterland, a blah blah, who cares? The topic is interesting enough, in light of the web and such collaborative movements, although approached way too lightly as to lend his thesis any credence. I managed to trawl through his trickle like prose and actually get to the end of the book, quite unbelievable considering how utterly useless it really is.
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The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few
The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few by James Surowiecki (Paperback - 3 Mar 2005)
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