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

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

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by Scott E. Page
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691128383

ISBN-13: 9780691128382

Pub. Date: 01/15/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691128382
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2007
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: The Continuous Life xiii

Prologue: How Diversity Trumps Ability: Fun at Caltech xix
INTRODUCTION: Unpacking Our Differences 1

PART ONE: UNPACKING THE TOOLBOX

CHAPTER 1: Diverse Perspectives How We See Things 23

CHAPTER 2: Heuristics Do the Opposite 52

CHAPTER 3: Interpretations Our Own Private Flatland 73

CHAPTER 4: Predictive Models Judging Books by Their Covers 90

CHAPTER 5: Measuring Sticks and Toolboxes Calipers for the Brain 103

PART TWO: DIVERSITY'S BENEFITS: BUILDING FROM TOOLS

CHAPTER 6: Diversity and Problem Solving Darwin's Brass Tacks 131

CHAPTER 7: Models of Information Aggregation Mindless Signals 175

CHAPTER 8: Diversity and Prediction The Crowd of Models 197

PART THREE: DIVERSE VALUES: A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS (OR IS IT)?

CHAPTER 9: Diverse Preferences Why Tapas 239

CHAPTER 10: Preference Aggregation Four (Not So) Depressing Results 255

CHAPTER 11: Interacting Toolboxes and Preferences Go Ask Alice 285

PART FOUR: THE PUDDING: DOES DIVERSITY GENERATE BENEFITS?

CHAPTER 12: The Causes of Cognitive Diversity Family Vacations, College, or Identity? 299

CHAPTER 13: The Empirical Evidence The Pudding 313

PART FIVE: GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE

CHAPTER 14: A Fertile Logic Putting Ideas to Work 339

Epilogue: The Ketchup Questions 371

Notes 377

Index 411

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The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies (New Edition) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Are two heads better than one? Or do too many cooks spoil the broth? For a large class of problems, argues mathematician and social scientist Scott E. Page, two heads are better. That is the benefit of diversity, particularly cognitive diversity. Skeptical? You won't be after you follow Page's methodical, quirky and often funny analysis of diversity's logic. We recommend this book to readers who want a truly rigorous, formal description of how diversity brings benefits to organizations. Be prepared, however, to encounter much math-speak (for example when he asks readers to 'Consider an arbitrary sno-cone design denoted by P'). The author also notes that some of the models showing the impact of diversity that he cites in the book have been tested via computer simulation only, and not in practical settings. Still, Page's results are innovative and beautiful, he maps out inviting avenues for further exploration, and brings welcome clarity to the important and contentious issues raised by human diversity.