Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Wisdom of the Crowds

I'm in a mad dash to finish "Wisdom of the Crowds", by James Surowiecki, in my ongoing attempt to read one book a month (at least one!). Sixty pages to go.

Overall the book is informative and worth reading. But as usual with pop-sci books, I'm left unsatisfied because of the lack of depth. The book is in some sense a string of anecdotes tied together under one topic: how decisions and actions made by a group can be more informed than those of any of the individuals that make up the group.

Quotes of interest:

Chapter 9, p 183: One of the consistent findings from decades of small-group research is that group deliberations are more successful when they have a clear agenda and when leaders take an active role in making sure that everyone gets a chance to speak.

Chapter 9, p 186: ... all the evidence suggests that the order in which people speak has a profound effect on the course of a discussion. Earlier comments are more influential ... there's no guarantee that the most-informed speaker will also be the most influential... In groups where the members know each other, status tends to shape speaking patterns, with higher-status people talking more and more often than lower-status people. Even when higher-status people don't really know what they're talking aout, they're more likely to speak.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I did my first 10K of the Holiday Challenge about an hour ago. I watched London while rowing. It's a good relationship movie, not great for a strong rowing performance, but interesting.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Upcoming Challenge

Time to start prepping for the Holiday Challenge 2006. It starts next Thursday, on Thanksgiving as always. My work schedule has gone completely berzerk, but I'll still make every effort to complete the Challenge this year. I've been doing this since 2003 and there's no way I'm stopping now!

I'll do some high intensity intervals on the erg tomorrow. I'd better put some chain oil on it; haven't used the thing all summer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Skipped breakfast

I skipped breakfast for Oxfam this morning. I skipped breakfast last year, too, so I guess I've officially got a tradition going.

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