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The Difference
Cover of The Difference
The Difference
How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

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.The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than 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 yields 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 scientists 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.

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.The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than 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 yields 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 scientists 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.

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About the Author-
  • Scott E. 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. He is the coauthor, with John Miller, of Complex Adaptive Systems.
Table of Contents-
  • Preface to the Paperback Edition
    Prufrock Avoided xiii
    Acknowledgments
    The Continuous Life xix
    Prologue
    How Diversity Trumps Ability
    Fun at Caltech xxv
    Introduction
    Unpacking Our Differences 1

    PART ONE: UNPACKING THE TOOLBOX

    CHAPTER 1: Diverse Perspectives How We See Things 23
    CHAPTER 2: Heuristics Do the Opposite 52
    CHAPTER 3: Interpretations Our Own Private Flatland 73
    CHAPTER 4: Predictive Models Judging Books by Their Covers 90
    CHAPTER 5: Measuring Sticks and Toolboxes Calipers for the Brain 103

    PART TWO: DIVERSITY'S BENEFITS: BUILDING FROM TOOLS

    CHAPTER 6: Diversity and Problem Solving Darwin's Brass Tacks 131
    CHAPTER 7: Models of Information Aggregation Mindless Signals 175
    CHAPTER 8: Diversity and Prediction The Crowd of Models 197

    PART THREE: DIVERSE VALUES: A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS (OR IS IT)?

    CHAPTER 9: Diverse Preferences Why Tapas 239
    CHAPTER 10: Preference Aggregation Four (Not So) Depressing Results 255
    CHAPTER 11: Interacting Toolboxes and Preferences Go Ask Alice 285

    PART FOUR: THE PUDDING: DOES DIVERSITY GENERATE BENEFITS?

    CHAPTER 12: The Causes of Cognitive Diversity Family Vacations, College, or Identity? 299
    CHAPTER 13: The Empirical Evidence The Pudding 313

    PART FIVE: GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE

    CHAPTER 14: A Fertile Logic Putting Ideas to Work 339
    Epilogue: The Ketchup Questions 371
    Notes 377
    Index 411

Reviews-
  • -Diane Coyle, Business Economist "Rather than ponder moral questions like, 'Why can't we all get along?' Dr. Page asks practical ones like, 'How can we all be more productive together?' The answer, he suggests, is in messy, creative organizations and environments with individuals from vastly different backgrounds and life experiences."
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The Difference
The Difference
How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies
Scott E. Page
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