For thousands of years, wisdom was the province of a few, behind the walls of monasteries, the walls of study halls and the doors of libraries, a select few labored to copy the words of wisdom and pass them on to the next generation. The first significant revolution came with the advent of printing, suddenly anyone who could read and write could be exposed to a variety of books whose circulation was increasing, although few still had the access and means to print, but at least the target audience could grow significantly. In our time, the second revolution took place, the computer revolution and the Internet in its wake. Not only did the masses gain almost unlimited access to knowledge, it gradually became clear that the masses themselves produced wisdom that no expert could match, data became the gold of the information age and the concept of “the wisdom of the masses” was born. But it still took resources to permeate any information and distill real insights from it. With the rise of social networks, each of us has become the center of a small crowd that, with a stroke of typing, is able to generate important and surprising insights.
Lior Soref had a dream, to get a doctorate, but a successful career as a marketing person at Microsoft separated him from his dream, and then in a brave decision he decided to resign, read Surovitzky’s book [“The Wisdom of the Crowds”, we recommended him here] on the wisdom of crowds, fell in love with the subject and did a doctorate on it. The next dream in Goldsmith’s checklist was a performance at the prestigious TED conference, and in order to conquer this stage he used a bull, a bull weighing over eight hundred kilos that went on the conference stage and with its help a goldsmith who recreated in real time the most famous experiment in the wisdom of the masses, the average guesses of those sitting in the hall almost accurately predicted the weight of the bull. The lecture was a hit and the offer to write the book followed.
What is so charming about the book is that a handsome goldsmith demands a fulfilling handsomeness, almost everything related to the book is done through the wisdom of the masses, just as the idea of putting a bull on the Ted stage was taken from the Facebook friends of a goldsmith, so too was the content of the book, its research base, important anecdotes and even the name and original cover all formulated in consultation with and with the help of the masses. Soref tells the story of fulfilling his dream of speaking at the TED conference, and in the process formulates the basic rules in building the personal masses and the right interactions with them. At the same time, he describes the most readily available mind-sharing tools such as the Link Din network and knowledge-sharing platforms such as Glassdoor for job seekers or Bilgoard for checking accounts.
In addition to the personal story and industry-front examples of using the wisdom of crowds, the book is interwoven with interesting examples of how ordinary people who helped courageously consult with their private masses gained important and sometimes even life-saving insights, for example, a mother of a toddler who developed a fever and a strange rash was not quiet with the family doctor’s diagnosis, and saved her son’s life by uploading pictures of him to Facebook and asking for the advice of her friends. Three different people wrote to her that it looked like a rare and deadly disease called Kawasaki disease and that she should go to the hospital immediately. But even in much less dramatic cases, the crowds around us have much to contribute as long as we know how to ask.