My blog-friend Tim Sullivan, when he was an editor at Princeton University Press, every so often sent me a book he had finished working on, including Scott Page‘s book The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for awhile, unread. Bryan Caplan just took a look and came away impressed:
Contrary to many slanted summaries, The Difference doesn’t show that "diversity is good"; it carefully analyzes the conditions under which diversity lives up to the hype.
News flash: It turns out that one of the key conditions is individual competence. If you gather a diverse group of smart, informed people, they make each other better in a long list of ways...At the same time, however, Page shows that gathering the world’s ninnies and predicting "collective wisdom" is wishful thinking.
Sounds fascinating. I’ll be reading it soon.
On a somewhat related note, Bob Sutton has written interestingly on the ups and downs of group brainstorming.