Saturday, March 03, 2007

Scott E. Page's "The Difference"

Scott E. Page's new book is The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies.

From the publisher:

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.

Among the early endorsements for the book:

"Scott Page has brought to our attention a practically important proposition: diversity of viewpoints is of the greatest importance in solving the problems that face us individually and collectively. Diversity among a group of problem solvers is more important than individual excellence. Page's exposition remarkably combines lightness and breadth of knowledge with rigor and evidence."
--Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel Prize-winning economist

"Scott Page knows more about diversity than anyone anywhere. In The Difference, he shows why diversity matters, how it leads to better outcomes, and most importantly why achieving the significant benefits of diversity requires thinking well beyond traditional categories such as race, gender, or ethnicity. Knowledge of this book should be a litmus test for educators and diversity trainers -- if you haven't read it, you are just talking metaphor. Stop playing defense and start playing offense by buying this book."
--Bill Miller, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Legg Mason Capital Management

"Does diversity trump ability when it comes to problem solving? Scott Page shows that the answer is, at least sometimes, yes. You'd do better to add more diversity of perspectives to your problem-solving team than to increase the average ability of individual team members. Diversity in both experience and identity can spark a group's creativity. Page pursues the logic of diversity and shows why and when hiring people who differ can lead to a better bottom line."
--Ian Ayres, coauthor of Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small

"The book is brilliant. Page has a dazzling eclecticism."
--Max Bazerman, Harvard Business School

Read how well the Page 69 Test served The Difference.

Read excerpts from The Difference.

Scott 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.

--Marshal Zeringue