The Granularity of Ideas

I’ve finally got around to reading The Wisdom of Crowds. It’s enjoyable, and while I know lots of bloggers have retaliated with tales of the dumbness of crowds, but I think that misses the point. We know that crowds can be dumb, and become mobs, but what is interesting is when they become smarter than the smartest individual. Suriowecki claims that conditions need to be right for this to happen.

What had put me off reading it though was that the title, or maybe the introduction, kind of told you all you needed to know. This is true of many popular business books that cross over to a general audience – for example the Tipping Point or The Innovator’s Dilemma are both neat ideas that can be pretty much encapsulated in a paragraph, or at least an article. The popular writer is in a dilemma here – in order for their book to be popular it needs to promote one good idea that could be conveyed in the typical Hollywood/elevator pitch. But the currency for such ideas is the book, so the idea has to be stretched over 80,000 words.

It would be nice if the blog post became the granularity for ideas wouldn’t it and then we could save all that time reading and writing books which aren’t really required. Not sure how you’d get rich in this model though…

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