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Great books April 17, 2006

Posted by Tom in Opinion, Research.

If you haven't found out yet, there are a host of great books on the issues surrounding workforce and economic development. I'm trying to get my arms around them (and have a strange habit of reading work-based non-fiction in my spare time…), so I'll pass along my latest reads as I get through the books.

My most recent completion was "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Suriowecki. This book was referred to me by a community leader as a substantiation of my operating premise on a recent research project.  The author claims that the most practical guidance comes not from the voices of a select few (who may or may not be experts) but rather a wide cross-section of the community. In a plainspoken way reminsicent of Malcom Gladwell's "The Tipping Point," the author illustrates the value of mass opinion using examples ranging from the stock market to the National Football League. He also readily discusses groupthink and the challenges of mass behavios causing an opinion bubble like that seen in stock market bubbles.  Keeping that caution in mind, it looks like the masses are largely better predictors of success than most individuals. (So there really is a reason to hold a lot of public meetings to develop strategies…!)

Anyway, it's an interesting book that has much wider applicability than just workforce development or economic development. With "The Wisdom of Crowds" completed, I'm back into convergence issues with Richard Florida's latest, "The Flight of the Creative Class." A more detailed update will arrive once I've completed it…



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