The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

Princeton University Press
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In this landmark book, Scott Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to one another. The Difference is about how we think in groups--and how our collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts. Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant individuals working alone? And why are the best group decisions and predictions those that draw upon the very qualities that make each of us unique? The answers lie in diversity--not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities.

The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and Page proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that cloud standard debates about diversity, he explains why difference beats out homogeneity, whether you're talking about citizens in a democracy or scientists in the laboratory. He examines practical ways to apply diversity's logic to a host of problems, and along the way offers fascinating and surprising examples, from the redesign of the Chicago "El" to the truth about where we store our ketchup.

Page changes the way we understand diversity--how to harness its untapped potential, how to understand and avoid its traps, and how we can leverage our differences for the benefit of all.

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About the author

Scott E. Page is professor of complex systems, political science, and economics at the University of Michigan and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. He is the coauthor, with John Miller, of Complex Adaptive Systems.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 11, 2008
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Pages
456
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ISBN
9781400830282
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / Theory
Business & Economics / Human Resources & Personnel Management
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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How businesses and other organizations can improve their performance by tapping the power of differences in how people think

What if workforce diversity is more than simply the right thing to do in order to make society more integrated and just? What if diversity can also improve the bottom line of businesses and other organizations facing complex challenges in the knowledge economy? It can. And The Diversity Bonus shows how and why.

Scott Page, a leading thinker, writer, and speaker whose ideas and advice are sought after by corporations, nonprofits, universities, and governments around the world, makes a clear and compellingly pragmatic case for diversity and inclusion. He presents overwhelming evidence that teams that include different kinds of thinkers outperform homogenous groups on complex tasks, producing what he calls “diversity bonuses.” These bonuses include improved problem solving, increased innovation, and more accurate predictions—all of which lead to better performance and results.

Page shows that various types of cognitive diversity—differences in how people perceive, encode, analyze, and organize the same information and experiences—are linked to better outcomes. He then describes how these cognitive differences are influenced by other kinds of diversity, including racial and gender differences—in other words, identity diversity. Identity diversity, therefore, can also produce bonuses.

Drawing on research in economics, psychology, computer science, and many other fields, The Diversity Bonus also tells the stories of people and organizations that have tapped the power of diversity to solve complex problems. And the book includes a challenging response from Katherine Phillips of the Columbia Business School.

The result changes the way we think about diversity in the workplace—and far beyond it.

How businesses and other organizations can improve their performance by tapping the power of differences in how people think

What if workforce diversity is more than simply the right thing to do in order to make society more integrated and just? What if diversity can also improve the bottom line of businesses and other organizations facing complex challenges in the knowledge economy? It can. And The Diversity Bonus shows how and why.

Scott Page, a leading thinker, writer, and speaker whose ideas and advice are sought after by corporations, nonprofits, universities, and governments around the world, makes a clear and compellingly pragmatic case for diversity and inclusion. He presents overwhelming evidence that teams that include different kinds of thinkers outperform homogenous groups on complex tasks, producing what he calls “diversity bonuses.” These bonuses include improved problem solving, increased innovation, and more accurate predictions—all of which lead to better performance and results.

Page shows that various types of cognitive diversity—differences in how people perceive, encode, analyze, and organize the same information and experiences—are linked to better outcomes. He then describes how these cognitive differences are influenced by other kinds of diversity, including racial and gender differences—in other words, identity diversity. Identity diversity, therefore, can also produce bonuses.

Drawing on research in economics, psychology, computer science, and many other fields, The Diversity Bonus also tells the stories of people and organizations that have tapped the power of diversity to solve complex problems. And the book includes a challenging response from Katherine Phillips of the Columbia Business School.

The result changes the way we think about diversity in the workplace—and far beyond it.

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