Monday, May 25, 2020

The Wisdom of Crowds - James Surowiecki ------------------ 1 Star

The Wisdom of Crowds had been on my to read list for a number of years. I was hoping that it would be as entertaining and enjoyable to read as some of the Gladwell books or perhaps Freakanomics. Unfortunately, as you can glean from the rating, it did not live up to my expectations.

Quick synopsis - the book makes a strong case that people's collective opinion, on nearly anything they are educated about or have a background about, will be more accurate or show more wisdom than a singular person. Okay, now you don't have to read the book! Honestly, this would have been a great Atlantic article that explained the author's main points with a few examples. Instead, I slowly trudged through this not interesting, much too long book that went into areas that were both confusing in purpose and boring.

While the book started strong with an interesting introduction and on point first chapter, it slowly lost my interest with each subsequent chapter seeming less useful and less entertaining. Unlike, say the books by Gladwell, this author is not a great storyteller and really needs a better editor. While he tried to use real life examples to make his points, like many other books of this type, he was long winded with the anecdotes not easily understandable by a laymen.

It's rare that I read a book that is such a dud. First, I am pretty good at vetting books to ensure they are not going to be a waste of my time. Second, it's really hard for me not to get interested in what I am reading. While I have a bias for certain types of books, I really can enjoy any time of literature (fiction or non), so I usually can find some interest in almost any type of book. Third, it is possible this book is better than I give it credit (which is very little). Perhaps this global pandemic and my viewing of more engaging TV has lowered my patience and tolerance to push through more esoteric writing... Or, perhaps this book is just super boring!

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