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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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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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Rather than ponder moral questions like, 'Why can't we all get along?' Dr. Page asks practical ones like, 'How can we all be more productive together?' The answer, he suggests, is in messy, creative organizations and environments with individuals from vastly different backgrounds and life experiences."--Claudia Dreifus, New York Times

"The Difference is brimming with so many intriguing insights and findings that I cannot do justice to them all."--Philip E. Tetlock, Science

"In The Difference, Page reveals how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and he proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that often clouds standard debates about diversity, Page explains why difference beats out homogeneity. And he examines practical ways to apply diversity's logic to a host of problems."--Here is the City

"This is a fascinating and important book.... The Difference is a thought-provoking and stimulating read."--Diane Coyle, Business Economist

"[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."--Education Digest

"Page has written a book that offers a pragmatic defense of diversity practices, where having a diverse set of points of view in a group equates to better decision making. The book . . .illustrates the benefits of a different way of thinking about problem solving, providing people with conceptual tools to understand what lies behind some of the more popular treatments of topics and to reshape the public debate about the benefits and disadvantages of diversity."--Henry Farrell, Quality World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400830282
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/11/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
456
Sales rank:
1,218,759
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Scott E. Page is professor of complex systems, political science, and economics at the University of Michigan and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. He is the coauthor, with John Miller, of "Complex Adaptive Systems".

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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.