the bad news: surowiecki´s thoughts fill 370 pages. the good news: you only have to read the first half. the bad news: you have to read it! the good news: it will change your attitude.
'the wisdom of crowds' lectures about the benefits of decision making in groups instead of individual decision making (because the latter is mostly literally 'single-minded', if not he´s an inmate).
additionally to its impact on our everyday life, the book covers the benefits and pitfalls of decision making in corporations: "corporate strategy is all about collecting information from many different sources, evaluating the probabilities of potential outcomes, and making decisions in the face of an uncertain future."
i just quote a few lines, which struck me, because they contradict the daily business of almost every company you bump in out there.
"diversity helps because it actually adds perspectives that otherwise would be absent and because it takes away, or at least weakens, some of the destructive characteristics of group decision making." (eg. groupthink)
"fostering diversity is actually more important in small groups and in formal organizations ..."
"... diversity is, on its own, valuable, so that the simple fact of making a group diverse makes it better at problem solving."
"... groups that are too much alike find it harder to keep learning, because each member is bringing less and less new information to the table."
"... when decision makers are too much alike - in worldview and mind-set - they easily fall prey to groupthink." ... ("the important thing about groupthink is that it works not so much by censoring dissent as by making dissent seem somehow improbable.")
"... the more personal contact they have with each other, the less likely it is that the group decisions will be wise ones."
"diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise."
now imagine the normal and average management meeting: every member (90% are men) born in the company, never seen something else outside, never challenged by the market, never trained in leadership, or strategy, never gained client- or marketing experience let alone -expertise.
why don´t they change, why don´t they grow?
because they "share an illusion of invulnerability, a willingness to rationalize away possible counterarguments to the groups´ position, and a conviction that dissent is not useful."
what makes their fewer and fewer successes in the past even less likely to be turned into true and sustainable success in the future.