Geek Reading, Dec. 2006

This article was originally posted on January 03, 2007.

As with several current books of its type that discuss macro trends in business and pop culture via “pop science,” (Malcolm Gladwell comes to mind) its central themes are widely known and referred to as part of popular culture. The other thing this book has in common with most contemporary books of this type is that the subject matter is probably better suited to a 10–20 page magazine article in, for example, Harvard Business Review, than to a 284-page tome.

Being a business person and not a sociologist, I found the most useful elements of Surowiecki’s discussion of what makes crowds wise (e.g., diversity of opinion, independence, etc.) or unwise (e.g., herding and information cascades) to be his thoughts on how working teams, even where “n” is < 10, can be most effectively structured. The other takeaway for me is a reinforcement of a belief that most mainstream financial markets are exceptionally efficient, and that “chasing experts” is an exercise in futility for most investors buying highly liquid, highly transparent investments.

Given my sister’s seasonal job at a bookstore, I still have “The Long Tail” and the classic “The Mythical Man-Month” to get through. More geek reads coming…

Originally published at https://mikegil.typepad.com.

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Project management, financial management, and knowledge management. Microsoft 365 aficionado. Opinions and Philly attytood are my own.

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Mike Gilronan

Project management, financial management, and knowledge management. Microsoft 365 aficionado. Opinions and Philly attytood are my own.