The Wisdom of Crowds

  • by James Surowiecki
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. Groups are 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, 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.

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What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"The author has a knack for translating the most algebraic of research papers into bright expository prose..." (The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

All of us are smarter than any of us

Some readers seem to feel that Surowiecki stretches this idea further than it really deserves thus leading to some repetition or padding. It didn't feel that way to me. Using genuinely interesting examples the author makes a case for how and why the wisdom of crowds works before going on to clarify the conditions that differentiate this approach from a simple matter of asking a bunch of people what they think and averaging the results. In addition to being just long enough it's also well narrated although the production standards are poor; hence the dropped star. Ten minutes in I no longer noticed the slightly muffled delivery.
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- Jim

Great book -- terrible audio quality

This is an excellent book but is let down by the very poor quality of the audio. I downloaded in a high quality format but both parts of the book sounded like old AM radio. A great pity
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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-05-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape