Customer Review

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to achieve group intelligence, 8 April 2005
This review is from: The Wisdom Of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations: Why the Many ... Business, Economies, Societies and Nations (Hardcover)
It is often believed that a good remedy against the madness of groups is to give much power to extraordinary individuals. People who are aware that they cannot fully understand complex problems often believe that there are other people, more intelligent, knowledgeable and strong than they are, who do posses the answers to these problems. They are quite prepared to follow and depend on these leaders, people who do seem and or pretend to know the answers to pressing complex problems. But is this wise? No!
James Surowiecki fights the idea that group decisions can only be mad and lead to misery and that extraordinary individuals should therefore solve pressing problems. He says that the potential of groups is underestimated and the value of expertise overestimed:
"... the more power you give a single individual in the face of complexity and uncertainty, the more likely it is that bad decisions will get made".
If the circumstances are right groups can behave highly intelligent, often more intelligent than even the most intelligent individuals. Under those circumstances, groups are better at solving problems, making predictions, assessing situations accurately and deciding wisely.
The right circumstances for collective wisdom are:
1. Diversity: when arguments, views and opinions do not differ from each other they don't add anything to one another. Diversity guarantees that multiple perspectives are brought into the decision-making process and that a broader range of information is included.
2. Independence: when individual group members are strongly influenced by arguments, information, experiences and onions of others this will suppress the diversity of input into the decision-making process. This increases the likelihood of groupthink.
3. Decentralization: the chance to achieve collective wisdom is greatest when individuals get a chance to bring their own information and experience into the process. Surowiecki calls this `local experience'.
4. Aggregation: a mechanism and a process to come to an integration of the different views and opinions. It is very important to prevent there will be too much interaction before each other to strongly so that the pressure to conform may get too strong and any deviating opinions will be suppressed.
An intelligent group does not ask of its individual members to conform to the dominant view. Instead it has created a mechanism that resembles a democracy or a market. Individual group members get the opportunity to bring in their own information and opinions and are not forced to change their views. Their independence is explicitly protected.
I found this book very interesting and accessible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in