The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

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Princeton University Press, Aug 11, 2008 - Business & Economics - 456 pages
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In this landmark book, Scott Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to one another. The Difference is about how we think in groups--and how our collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts. Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant individuals working alone? And why are the best group decisions and predictions those that draw upon the very qualities that make each of us unique? The answers lie in diversity--not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities.

The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and Page proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that cloud standard debates about diversity, he explains why difference beats out homogeneity, whether you're talking about citizens in a democracy or scientists in the laboratory. He examines practical ways to apply diversity's logic to a host of problems, and along the way offers fascinating and surprising examples, from the redesign of the Chicago "El" to the truth about where we store our ketchup.

Page changes the way we understand diversity--how to harness its untapped potential, how to understand and avoid its traps, and how we can leverage our differences for the benefit of all.

 

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User Review  - dono421846 - LibraryThing

One criticism of efforts to increase diversity in the workplace and other contexts suggests that attention should be on individual ability rather than on group differences. Page offers a logical and ... Read full review

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User Review  - nnschiller - LibraryThing

Referred through a link from Weinberger's Too big to know Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
PART FOUR
6
1
23
Heuristics
52
Interpretations
73
Predictive Models
90
6
131
Models of Information Aggregation
175
9
239
Preference Aggregation
255
11
273
Interacting Toolboxes and Preferences
285
12
299
The Empirical Evidence
313
14
339
Epilogue
371

8
184
Diversity and Prediction
197

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About the author (2008)

Scott E. Page is Associate Professor of Political Science, Complex Systems, and Economics at the University of Michigan.

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