Avery Trade (Penguin), August 2010
In a world where speed and flexibility are valued more than ever,
leaders from the corporate boardroom to the military are looking for
answers from seemingly unlikely experts -- the ones in the grass, in
the air, in the lakes, and in the woods. In this innovative book,
veteran National Geographic editor Peter Miller explains the
basic principles of smart swarms -- self-organization, diversity of
knowledge, indirect collaboration, and adaptive mimicking -- to show
how swarm species such as ants, bees, and fish can teach us to tackle
some of the most complex conundrums in business, politics, and
By studying ant colonies' simple governing rules, computer scientists have written programs to streamline factory processes, telephone networks, and truck routes. Termites have inspired climate control solutions, and the U.S. military is developing a team of robots that behaves like a school of fish. Groups in nature are the real specialists because they've evolved strategies over millions of years to cope with uncertainty, complexity, and change -- the same challenges that make our lives and businesses difficult today.
Leading scientists in fields from biology to physics, social psychology, and business management are all studying smart swarms to unlock their secrets, and Peter Miller takes us on a lively tour to show us how we can, too.
A fascinating journey from the critter to the corporation, The Smart Swarm is an eye-opening look at small-scale phenomena with big implications for us all.
hardcover | ISBN: 9781583333907 | Publication Date: August 2010
"I loved The Smart Swarm. It's been a while since I was this stimulated by a book, or saw so many practical applications. And what a great read."
"With an eye for detail and an easy style, Peter Miller explains why
swarm intelligence has scientists buzzing."
--Steven Strogatz, author of Sync, and Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University
"Miller informs, engages, entertains, and even surprises in this
thought-provoking study of problem making and problem solving, and
through the comparison of human and insect scenarios, shows how social
cues and signals can either bring about social cooperation or
"Most people can't fathom that ants, bees, and other social insects
have found solutions to some of modern society's most vexing problems.
In The Smart Swarm, Peter Miller offers a fascinating and
articulate tour of what these creatures can do, how the do it, and the
lessons for humans. This book is a gem, with a message that is as
extraordinarily counterintuitive as it is valuable."
--Michael J. Mauboussin, Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management and author of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition
"[Peter Miller] has proven that there is intelligent life on earth,
but it is not necessarily us. What a delightful, eye-opening book."
--Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and Stalin's Ghost