The wisdom of Crowds By: James Surowiecki

by Tom Carroll

I have now completed my second reading of The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. I found the book fascinating and insightful. The book provides a great deal of support for the idea that given the proper conditions a crowd will almost always be smarter that any individual over time. For a crowd to achieve the highest intelligence it must be diverse, be composed of independant parts, decentralized and provide for aggregation of group knowledge. One of the examples given in support of the wisdom of crowds was the search for the USS Scorpion conducted by John Craven. The story of craven and his search can be found in more detail in “Blindman’s Bluff” by Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew and Annette Lawrence Drew.