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Peter Miller is a senior editor at National Geographic and has served as a writer and editor at the magazine for more than twenty-five years. He lives in Reston, Virginia, with his wife.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 30 commentaires
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great Leaders let the Group Lead 16 août 2010
Par Jim Estill - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I loved it and found it captivating.

The book explains how things like ant colonies interact (more interesting than you would think). First thing in the morning the scout ants take off. When they return, the gatherer ants leave but only if there is the right number of scouts returning - not enough or too many at once - danger. And if they find food, they carry it back to the nest and release a scent that other ants follow to find the food. Fascinating.

Ant colonies accomplish great things (especially termites that build termite hills to vent the carbon dioxide from the colony and provide fresh air from the wind).

Although colonies accomplish great things, the individual ants are not too bright.

Case after case in the book (like why birds that flock don't bump into each other) point out the intelligence of the group even if the individuals only focus on the few individuals around them. They are leaderless groups. Even the bee hive does not have a leader. The queen lays eggs but does not decide where they live or where the food is. Specialists each do their job.

So how does this relate to business? Studies have shown that the collective group is more intelligent than the individual.

So what does this say about the CEO or leader? As I always knew - often a leader can hinder decision making. It is incumbent on the leader (whether by formal position or just by reputation/expertise) to make others feel worthy of speaking up. And in many senses, minimizing themselves so the group can make the best decision.

Awesome book - captivating read.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Learn from the ants, bees, fish, termites and locusts! 23 novembre 2010
Par Sam Santhosh - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Through a very insightful book, Peter Miller turns to Nature to explain crowd behavior. Leveraging upon numerous scientific studies, Peter elaborates the principles through which even insects with low individual intelligence perform extraordinary feats of brilliance as a group. That too without hierarchy or elaborate rules!

Peter Miller calls this intelligent group behavior - the smart swarm. He then explains how the smart swarm works - using biology to unlock the secrets of collective behavior. The dangers of group behavior are also brought out through the examples of locusts - which is useful to understand how human groups also sometimes turn violent.

What are the principles of smart swarms?

The first principle of a smart swarm is self organization. Through the basic mechanisms of decentralized control, distributed problem solving and multiple interactions, members of a group without being told can transform simple rules of thumb into meaningful patterns of collective behavior. This is explained through the functioning of ant colonies - that is "Though Ant's aren't smart, why Ant colonies are?"

The second principle of a smart swarm is 'diversity of knowledge' - which is basically achieved through a broad sampling of the swarm's options, followed by a friendly competition of ideas. Then using an effective mechanism to narrow down the choices, swarms can achieve 'wisdom of crowds'. The honeybees example of choosing a new nest illustrates this very clearly - and Peter shows how communities and businesses can build trust and make better decisions by adapting this,

The third principle is indirect collaboration. If individuals in a group are prompted to make small changes to a shared structure that inspires others to improve it even further, the structure becomes an active player in the creative process. This is explained beautifully with the example of how termites build huge structures. We also see this in our internet world through Wikis!!!

The fourth principle is adaptive mimicking. With the example of flight behavior of starlings, Peter shows how the basic mechanisms of coordination, communication and copying can unleash powerful waves of energy or awareness that race across a population evoking a feeling of mental telepathy.

The author explains how the above principles will give businesses powerful tools to untangle some of the knottiest problems they face. With examples ranging from Oil, Aircraft manufacturing to Movies, very useful practical situations are given throughout the book.

I would strongly recommend this book all interested in Science & Business.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Swarm Teams are the new reality in our wired world 16 août 2010
Par A Reader from Chicago - Publié sur
Format: Relié
In today's world of total global competition and global social networks where the future of the world is being discussed, the field of biomimicry is being embraced by leading thinkers in order to capitalize on nature's hard earned lessons. This book brings those lessons to life and provides a basis for better understanding the true impact of our wired world. After you've digested Miller's work, you may want go further and read Ken Thompson's Bioteams: High Performance Teams Based on Nature's Most Successful Designs. Bioteams reveals how business enterprises, supply chains, high-tech ventures, public sector organizations and not-for-profits are turning to nature's best designs to create agile, high performing teams --and provides the human protocols that are needed for successful teams.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Unusually good read for science writing 20 septembre 2010
Par Drew Wallen - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is a clear, concise exposition of certain behaviors in macro-organisms which consist of many individuals. By themselves, the individuals are not too "smart" but each is programmed with certain simple rules. When gathered together the hive, colony, swarm or flock behaves with more appropriate reactions than each individual can.

Systematic and well written. Understandable almost to the point of being "dumbed down" and organized to sell the lesson. This book couldn't be better for an interested layperson.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Smart Swarm 8 janvier 2011
Par Spider Monkey - Publié sur
Format: Relié
`Smart Swarm' is a superb book looking at various swarming animals and what lessons we may learn from their behaviours.

Each chapter focuses on a different animal (Ants, Bees, Termites, Swallows and Locusts, with Fish and Caribou thrown in for good measure) and starts off by exploring their specific behaviour and then relates a human situation where a similar things is done, or could be done. This has plenty of real world examples of various experiments conducted, which clarify some of the points and also includes examples where businesses have improved their organisations based on the ideas put across here.

I found the first two chapters, on Ants and Bees, the most fascinating and can see future real world applications to use the knowledge gleaned from these ingenious creatures in global businesses. The other chapters are also very good and this has plenty of intriguing and interesting information, put across in a very clear and lucid way.

If you enjoy popular science books or popular sociology/psychology then this will be right up your street. It is `sciency' enough to satisfy the inner geek in us all and, as it's not too heavy or jargon laden, accessible enough to be enjoyed as bedtime/commuting or general reading material.

I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it if the premise of this even mildly grabs your interest.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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