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Suroweicki's The Wisdom Of Crowds Essay

1196 words - 5 pages

John Heywood once said, “Two minds are better than one”, and this just may be true when people need the best solution to a problem. In Suroweicki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, he expresses a common belief that if a group is working towards a mutual goal, than their results will by far surpass those of a single individual. The Law of Averages helps determine a group’s ability to collaborate its ideas into a single outcome, which confirms how Surowiecki’s ideas that a larger group of people can provide many accurate predictions. Throughout his book, Surowiecki discusses how predictions and probability are some of the many key ingredients to achieving good results (10). Similarly, the Law of Averages states that groups will predict the correct outcome after a series of trial and error, which supports Surowiecki’s ideas. Even though working in a group might provide better solutions in some situations, many characteristics can hinder that group’s success. More importantly, in order for any group to come to collectively wise decisions, some knowledge is one of the necessary characteristics needed amongst its members.
Another key factor that has sometimes contributed to the success of a group’s answer would be the fact that they may sometimes rely on a single individual to guide the group in the right direction to achieve results (30). Overall, no matter how brilliant a single individual maybe, large groups of people actually turn out to be smarter than a select few. Therefore, groups are better at solving problems, developing opinions, making informed decisions, and predicting the outcome (22). Surowiecki believes crowds are smarter when they work as a team even if it may seem more realistic to work individually (XVII). Surowiecki goes further to prove his point by acknowledging that the wisdom within a crowd works best when a significant amount of free-flowing information has become available to them (12). Consider how, the residents of Chandler, AZ organized a campaign to keep Wal-Mart Supercenters out of their community. At first, it started with only a select few protesting against it but then it rapidly grew into a large group of people. Later the group of people who were responsible for the strategies, press releases and everything else needed for the campaign became a “court committee”. This shows that groups who have a purpose will have the ability to organize regular people to achieve a significant result.
Through my own experiences, it is obvious that around every corner, there are groups of people, but whether or not they can meet all the characteristics that Surowiecki describes as necessary is something that remains unclear and needs further discussion. For instance, at the time of the California Wildfires, I was an employee at Wal-Mart. Individually; my ideas of how to help the people who were in need were overlooked, despite their resourcefulness. However, when I combined my ideas with those of my co-workers, our ideas seemed to shed...

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