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Insects are social creatures, perhaps even more social—in the strict scientific sense—than humans since they lack such socially obstructing attributes as ego, personality, and opinion. Miller, senior editor at National Geographic, examines hives, mounds, colonies, and swarms, whose complex systems of engagement and collective decision making have catalyzed innovations in engineering and can suggest solutions to such problems as climate change. The sophisticated system of decentralized interdependence exhibited by termites invites a lesson on how to respond to emergencies, while the chemical-based communications among African ants helped officials at Southwest Airlines define their seating policy. Insects, birds, and fish variously demonstrate the plausibility and success of disorganization leading to self-organization and leaderless processes. Adding understanding to the dark side of group dynamics and, inevitably, mob behavior is the study of locusts, innocuous until they become part of a crowd. Miller informs, engages, entertains, and even surprises in this thought-provoking study of problem making and problem solving, and through the comparison of human and insect scenarios, shows how social cues and signals can either bring about social cooperation or destruction. (Aug.)
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"I loved The Smart Swarm. It's been a while since I was this stimulated by a book, or saw so many practical applications. And what a great read."
-Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics
"With an eye for detail and an easy style, Peter Miller explains why swarm intelligence has scientists buzzing."
-Steven Strogatz, author of Sync, and Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University
"Most people can't fathom that ants, bees, and other social insects have found solutions to some of modern society's most vexing problems. In The Smart Swarm, Peter Miller offers a fascinating and articulate tour of what these creatures can do, how they do it, and the lessons for humans. This book is a gem, with a message that is as extraordinarily counter intuitive as it is valuable."
-Michael J. Mauboussin, Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management and author of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition
"[Peter Miller] has proven that there is intelligent life on earth, but it is not necessarily us. What a delightful, eye-opening book."
-Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and Stalin's Ghost
Fascinating book. Great insights into how to organize people to get the job done.Published 3 months ago by phesselmann
Cool concept. Good to know that complex and complicated are not the same thing.Published 4 months ago by J C Markham
I always worried that without great leaders our organizations and churches might falter. This shows that groups who lack a type A, chaismatic leader can still be very strategic... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dennis Nordine
Well worth reading even if you are already familiar with the ideas. This book gave me several ways to reconsider the structure of work relationships and some nice analogies to... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed it and gained some interesting insights and a new view to how crowds work in ways I never thought of!Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fun read and welcome diversion of science into every day life. The author die a very good job of keeping the material approachable, while maintaining high scholastic standards.Published 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
Smart Swarm's key argument may sound a little strange - attempting to siphon learning from the group behavior of swarm animals could be considered pushing a naturalistic fallacy... Read morePublished 17 months ago by T. Edmund
A good introduction to complexity theory as it applies to social animals like bees and ants. I wouldn't say that I walked away with an understanding of how this can make me "better... Read morePublished on August 5, 2013 by Erik A. Saltwell