Book Review: “The Smart Swarm” by Peter Miller
In The Smart Swarm, Peter Miller sets out to examine the simple yet fascinating principles governing collective intelligence and behavior in the natural world. Using swarms, schools, flocks and herds as examples, he attempts to give readers practical applications and real life examples for how these principles can be applied to our own organizational and business practices.
Although the book starts off well with Don Tapscott’s excellent foreword and follows with a fascinating account of harvester ant life in New Mexico, it soon became clear that I was not about to read a revolutionary piece of insight into the central issue of our times, which for me at least, is the question of why nature works in harmony and in contrast humanity is in a state of perpetual conflict?
Our organizational structures clearly have much to learn from nature and thanks to the internet and research like this book, all signs point toward greater integration, collaboration and connection. However, I am not a busy bee – especially on Monday mornings, and I’m not sure I’d like a bunch of friends sharing my apartment even if they were working like little ants helping me with my DIY project.
So after finishing the book I was left with a big question mark: What would motivate me to relate to others as do the ants, the fish and the dancing caribou?