The Power of Collective Wisdom
And the Trap of Collective Folly
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An inspired and practical approach to developing the innate power of groups to make wise, compassionate, and creative decisions • Based on nine years of research involving scores of participants • Includes real-life examples and specific practices to help readers understand and cultivate collective wisdom and avoid collective folly If we are to disentangle the extraordinary challenges that we face today in organizations, communities, and nations we must transcend our divisions and develop solutions together. But what enables us to collectively make wise choices and sound judgments instead of splintering apart? When human beings gather together, a depth of awareness and insight, a transcendent knowing, becomes available. Based on nine years of research The Power of Collective Wisdom shows how we can tap into the extraordinary cocreative potential that exists in every group. Collective wisdom is elusive and unpredictable – it can’t be willed into being, but the authors describe six commitments people can adopt that will increase the likelihood of its appearing. Stories and historical examples throughout serve to illuminate and illustrate how collective wisdom has emerged in a range of settings and through the lives and traditions of varied cultures. Equally important, the authors describe how to recognize the pitfalls of polarization or false agreement, either of which can lead to collective folly – a phenomenon with which recent history has made us all too familiar. And they offer a set of practices to help readers maintain the key lessons of the book. The Power of Collective Wisdom is a foundational book for an emerging field of study and practice relevant to everyone seeking more effective and satisfying ways of working with others.
- Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 2009
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