Friday, December 10


Tim Noah on why BushCo insularity breeds bad decision-making:

The overarching theme of Surowiecki's book is that people are much smarter collectively than they are individually. He makes an exception, though, for small groups of people who share the same opinions. These tend to be stupider than their constituent members, because when like-minded people get together they drive each other to embrace more mindlessly extremist views. Studies have shown, for instance, that if you put a bunch of pessimists together in a room they will become more pessimistic after talking to one another, and that juries whose members are inclined to give plaintiffs large awards usually give even larger awards after they've deliberated.

Any large-corporation manager has observed this dynamic time and again. It's such a no-brainer for me that for years I have deliberately seeded people of divergent views into task teams that I direct. It's important to factor into our decision-making processes anticipated adverse consequences or obstacles and prepare counter-arguments and/or alternative solutions. The Bush Way is to consider only best-case scenarios; it's why they're consistently unprepared for anything less.

Edwin Markham understood the value of inclusion:

"He drew a circle that left me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout,
But Love and I had the wit to win.
We drew a circle that took him in.


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