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Review: Scott E. Page The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

Yannis Ioannides ()

No 729, Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University from Department of Economics, Tufts University

Abstract: How can one tackle reviewing a book, for which entering "scott e page" the difference in google.com produces 24,000 entries? A New York Times, Science Section piece, titled in "Professor's Model, Diversity=Productivity" [Drifus (2008)], a link to a video presentation at the College de France [College de France (2008)], and numerous reviews in blogs along with commentary are only a few of the hits. Max Bazerman's endorsement reads "the book is brilliant. Page has a dazzling eclecticism." Kenneth J. Arrow's endorsement reads Scott Page has brought to our attention a practically important proposition: diversity of viewpoints is of the greatest importance in sloving the problems that face us individually and collectively. Diversity among a group of problem solvers is more important than individual excellence. Page's exposition remarkably combines lightness and breadth of knowledge with rigor and evidence." There is no obvious way to approach the review, especially since the book is clearly aimed a very specific audience. In fact, it is telling how diverse is the group of the "oh so-many other people" [Page (2007), p. xiv] who commented on parts of earlier versions. I start with a brief summary and then present the book's thesis, with the evidence coming first. The presentation is sprinkled with my reactions throughout. I close with a summary evaluation.

Date: 2009
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