Summary of The Wisdom of Crowds

Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations

Doubleday Broadway,
First Edition: 2004 more...

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The Wisdom of Crowds book summary
Much of the time, an amateur crowd can outguess an expert on cognition, coordination and cooperation queries. How?


9 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


This well-written bestseller explores the apparent anomaly that crowds of nonexperts seem to be collectively smarter than individual experts or even small groups of experts. This basic insight is at the heart of contemporary financial investment theory, with its emphasis on the difficulty of outguessing the market. Beginning with British scientist Francis Galton’s remarkable discovery in 1906 that a crowd of nonexperts proved surprisingly competent at guessing the weight of an ox, financial columnist and author James Surowiecki skillfully recounts experiments, discoveries and anecdotes that demonstrate productive group thinking. The concept does not come as news to anyone reasonably well read in modern financial literature, but getAbstract recommends this comprehensive, fresh presentation.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why large groups of people seem to be better than experts when it comes to forecasts, valuation and other tasks;
  • How scientists prove that crowds are wise; and
  • Why it matters.


The Weight of an Ox
In 1906, scientist Francis Galton discovered something remarkable in a very nonscientific setting: the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition. Galton had spent his career studying human characteristics, work that left him convinced that the only way to ensure...
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About the Author

James Surowiecki is a staff writer at The New Yorker, which publishes his popular business column, "The Financial Page."

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