Wisdom of the Crowds

I’ve been trying to find some information on the “wisdom of the crowds”.  Quite a few years back I read an article in a mag/newspaper on a study that proved the wisdom of the majority (or something similar).

The study gave a group of people a sheet with all the Oscar nominees from an obscure year (I’m thinking 1940s) and asked them to pick the winners. Remember, this was all the categories, not just the glamour ones, so it was pretty hard.

As far as I can remember the study showed that even though no one knew, or claimed to know, the answers, the majority of people guessing, guessed right.

It was a pretty cool result and, while I don’t have any real need for it (it’s not going in a proposal or presentation), I’d like to read it again.

I’ve not read the Wisdom of the Crowds by James Surowiecki so I apolgise in advance if that’s the one.

If anyone out there can send me a link or leave a link in the comments, that’d be grand. If it’s the right one, I can send you a copy of “Bobbi: Everything a Modern Girl Needs” that someone at work has kindly subscribed me to. Thanks for that.

You can also win a copy of Bobbi if you guess what my column for tomorrow’s Blog Herald will be about.


6 Responses to Wisdom of the Crowds

  1. Check out Mitch Joel’s blog. I recall reading about it there. http://www.twistimage.com/blog

  2. Paull Young says:

    You’re subscribed to Bobbi magazine and you get comments from someone called ‘Bourbon Hipster’? Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the metrosexual Ed Lee.

    (And bourbon – no offence, cool blog! Just not the standard name you see popping up on business blogs.)

  3. Chris Clarke says:

    The last thing I need is to see another copy of Bobbi arrive in our office mail. Good grief – same editors as UMM! Hilarious. I can imagine their editors meetings: “So, for next month’s issue, let’s do a piece on the feminist movement for Bobbi…and for UMM, let’s get a bunch of chicks in bikin’s talking about sports. Mkay?”

    Plus, I know what your BH column is about anyway. I’ll give a hint: it’s been blogged about quite a bit already, and it involves PR. I know, i know, I’ve said too much. It’s not like Ed and I write a column about PR or anything, though…oh and Tony Hung said hi last week at TTT.

  4. Ed – You’ve probably seen the post from Shel Israel that mentions The Wisdom of the Crowds by Surowiecki as you guessed as the source. See http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2007/03/kathy_sierra_an.html if you haven’t already.

  5. Ed Lee says:

    so…does the wisdom of the crowds book specifically use the Oscars example? that’s the case study i really want to find and my googling skills evidently aren’t up to finding it!

    thanks all who’ve helped out so far..


  6. Judy Gombita says:

    Suggestion: check out the entry on Wikipedia under Prediction markets:


    (Note that the item currently includes, “Prediction markets were championed in James Surowiecki’s 2004 book The Wisdom of Crowds.”)

    Happy researching (and no need to send my Bobbi).

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