Suroweiki engrossed me from the beginning. Though this book appears to be a collection of anecdotes about how crowds often outthink the experts, it st...moreSuroweiki engrossed me from the beginning. Though this book appears to be a collection of anecdotes about how crowds often outthink the experts, it struck me as a blueprint for how decision-makers should harness the power of people. Thus it is a treatise on smart business and marketing, good government, and sound organization management.
As a U.S. Army veteran, the author propelled me to thoughts on how the military could use its people's collective wisdom, something on which I have written extensively:Nine Weeks: a teacher's education in Army Basic Training
Among the most relevant claims from the book is this cogent bit of logic:
"To state the obvious, unless people know what the truth is, it's unlikely they'll make the right decisions. This means being honest about performance. It means being honest about what's not happening. It means being honest about expectations. Unfortunately, there's little evidence that this kind of sharing takes place....One of the things that gets in the way of the exchange of real information is the deep-rooted hostility on the part of bosses to opposition from subordinates. This is the real cost of a top-down approach to decision making: it confers the illusion of perfectability upon the decision makers and encourages everyone else simply to play along. What makes this especially damaging is that people in an organization already have a natural inclination to avoid conflict and potential trouble. It's remarkable, in fact, that in an autocratic organization good information ever surfaces.
It's a book that anyone who has been around people should read. (less)