- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (December 23, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1422122999
- ISBN-13: 978-1422122990
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter Hardcover – December 23, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Just because collective groupthink in business and public life decision-making is the prevalent paradigm, doesn't mean it’s the right way to go. Discuss.” ― Qantas The Australian Way
"[Wiser] sheds light on the specifics of why and how group decisions go wrong, and share insights into how leaders can avoid the pitfalls and reach better outcomes....With examples from a broad range of organisations from Google to the CIA, Wiser is designed to help leaders and their teams make better decisions that lead to greater success." ― Inside HR
ADVANCE PRAISE for Wiser:
Lawrence Summers, Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton; Director of the National Economic Council under President Obama―
“No man is an island, and all important decisions are made collectively. This important book shows how they can be made better and so will make groups, crowds, and our society wiser and better. Anyone involved in making decisions that matter should read this book.”
John Engler, President, Business Roundtable―
“Drawing on academic research, real-world examples, and, in Sunstein’s case, White House experience, the authors identify the most common mistakes groups fall victim to and offer sensible ways to avoid those often-expensive errors. In Sunstein and Hastie’s recommendations, CEOs and managers alike will find much that leaves them, in a word, wiser.”
Claire Shipman, Correspondent, ABC’s Good Morning America; Author, The Confidence Code―
“More minds aren’t always better, according to Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie. In Wiser, they deftly lay out the unexpected perils of group decision making and provide smart, straightforward, and often surprising fixes. Utterly fascinating and counterintuitive, this book is an essential read for executives and managers―for anybody, actually, hoping to make an enterprise successful.”
Austan Goolsbee, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama―
“There have been lots of books written on why and how individuals make bad decisions. But many of the most important decisions are made by committee, where normal problems get magnified. Finally, Sunstein and Hastie have provided crucial insights and lessons to help groups and teams avoid pitfalls and make effective decisions. Leaders everywhere should take these lessons to heart.”
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning presidential historian; Author, Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit―
“This gem of a book is full of penetrating insight, sensible advice, and fascinating stories drawn from practical experience. Written with clarity and grace, it provides an invaluable road map for leaders and managers in both public and private life. I can think of dozens of historical decisions that might have been better made had our leaders followed these precepts.”
About the Author
Cass R. Sunstein is a US legal scholar and served as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. He is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School and coauthor, with Richard H. Thaler, of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.
Reid Hastie is an expert on the psychology of decision making, especially by groups. He has authored or coauthored several academic books, including Rational Choice in an Uncertain World. He is currently the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Wiser describes the forces at play that encourage dumb “groupthink” and equips readers with the tools necessary to make all their groups more effective, productive, responsive, and smarter.
The book is sharp, to the point, and is very much evidence based—it makes frequent use of current studies in social psychology and related fields to support its claims.
Wiser is divided into two parts. Part one is titled “How Groups Fail” and does a fine job of detailing how groups can amplify bad ideas and subconsciously exclude good ones. Part Two is titled “How Groups Succeed” and for obvious reasons contains much more actionable information. In this section, the authors provide blueprints and examples for the most effective group decision-making, and most importantly, how to aggregate data. All leaders of a group may find this information game changing because it places less value on them and more on cumulative information—hence “anxious” leaders who incessantly reject majority opinion become a vital necessity. Also, the chapters on tournaments, prediction markets, and public opinion are more theoretical and do not have as much universal draw as other chapters, but these sections do contain interesting information nonetheless.
n my mind, this book’s greatest value is its cross-disciplinary applicability. So whether you are leading a business, a school, a church, a medical practice, or a group of friends, this book will offer valuable advice and guidance on how to make your group dynamics smarter and more effective. And, as a group member, you will have a new understanding of your ideal role in light of all the forces at play that will tend to make group decisions “dumber.” What’s not to like about that?
Why a four, and not a five? The lay reader (of which I number myself) would have benefited from an exposition of cognitive bias on the individual level, to see its relationship and expression amidst groups. Although Sunstein let us all leave our math at the door, at times, at least with the notes, it would have been worthwhile to show the derivations of some of the work (surely, at least Condorcet's reasoning is available to anyone with a good high school education). And lastly, although the book ends by saying that after 30 years of research, behavioural economics is finally beginning to bear fruit, a bit more helpful advice, perhaps in a check-box summary "If you think the problem is A, try B," would have been extremely useful for us non-academics, who struggle with poorly-performing groups daily.
Still, if I could have given this 4.5 stars, I would have, which would then have rounded up to a 5, no?. But as an alum of the University of Chicago's Booth School, I am accustomed to low grades. I expect that this would be expected by both Thaler and Sunstein - after all, we share the same institution! But get it, read it; if you deal with organizations, you will benefit.
The authors are well aware of all of the pitfalls. Part 1 of the book is "How Groups Fail". But the payoff is Part 2 which gives insights into how groups can work much better.
The authors provide insights. Even better, their ideas are practical and have been studied and rigorously tested.
There is a very good (though long) interview with author Cass Sunstein on podcast to get a great sense of the book. Search for "After Words" and "Cass Sunstein".
One catch that they don't discuss is that sometimes groups are not "supposed" to work. That is, they assume that you want groups to make good decisions. Sometimes, a group exists to ratify what the boss has already decided, to diffuse responsibility or to stop progress. Groups already serve these functions well and that is sometimes their intended purpose even if that is not what is claimed. This "problem" will never be fixed because the person running the committee doesn't want to fix it. This book addresses how to get groups to make better decisions -- assuming that is what is desired.