Princeton University Press
February 4, 2007
In this landmark book, Scott Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to each other. The Difference is about how we think in groups, but 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, are distinct tools and abilities.
The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on loan thinkers with enormous IQs that 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 yield 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 science 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.
Scott E Page is Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan and External Faculty Member at the Santa Fe Institute. Is the coauthor of Complex Adaptive Social Systems.