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Book Review: ‘Big Mind’ by Geoff Mulgan

Big Mind: About the Book

Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World focuses the reader on every aspect of collective intelligence from epistemology to societal thinking. This book is extremely thorough in its explanation of each section with quotes from relevant academic and business thinking. Explanations of the applications and successes of Google Maps and Dove satellites are well explained in a coherent way.

Mulgan emphasises the importance of verifying data before accepting it by utilising examples that could have changed the world – such as the negotiations with former President of the United States Ronald Reagan and former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.

Big Mind Book Cover

Skilfully written and blooming with real-life examples, Big Mind aids us in understanding that it is humans who will fundamentally change the world for the better, not artificial intelligence.  This is particularly relevant in the age of a certain concentration on AI, Mulgan explains that human intervention, indeed, collective intelligence that will drive tomorrows technologies.  Mulgan’s true skill comes in the writing on a topic that is very much a fascinating field yet can range from the ‘limitlessy broad to highly specific’.  Alongside this, the thinking and literature surrounding this fascinating topic can move in every direction with little in terms of a set framework or concept.

Mulgan uses the adage: “If you ask enough people to count the bricks in a wall, more will get the right answer than not.” In a world where quality is expected, this book provides an excellent view of how collective intelligence can be utilised for effective innovation. All the elements in this book may not be relevant for training professionals but it does provide an intensive view on how we can collectively enhance outputs.

Final Thoughts

With its well thought out and applicable solutions, I would recommend this book to all levels of management. Whether you deal with frontline issues or a multitude of complex decisions, Big Mind may provide you with a different way of dealing with them.


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Will Clement

About Will Clement

Will Clement is a freelance training consultant.

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