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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Excellent Read !!!

Surowiecki has created a very insightful book that explores group mentality in sociological, psychological and economic areas. The anecdotal examples are interpreted in a thought-provoking, eye- opening manner that was a definite pleasure. Maybe not a "crowd pleaser" but one of the few books I'd listen to again. The narration was also very good and did not bore, even with some of the heavier subject matter. All in all - an excellent read.
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- Roman

Don't waste your time

I have only read two hours of this book, and I have no intention of finishing it. During this time, I have been barraged with monotonous examples in which the average answer of the crowd happens to be more accurate than most of the individuals in that crowd. His wordy self-important style of writing leaves me with the feeling that this could instead be a man seeing an enormous number of coincidences, and presenting all the ones that happen to suit his views.

Perhaps the author will decide to get around to some adult level conversation and scientific analysis in the remaining seven hours, but I would not bet on it. And as I still have a splitting headache from the first two hours, I am not about to find out.
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- Chris H

Book Details

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