Harnessing the Power of Collective Wisdom
We have here, in this business, a master mind. It is not my mind, and it is not the mind of any other man on my staff, but the sum total of all these minds that I have gathered around me...– Andrew Carnegie, Industrialist
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was one of the wealthiest industrialists and most respected philanthropists of his day. A self-made man, his was a true tale of rags to riches. Born to poor Scottish weavers, his family emigrated to America on borrowed money in 1848 to escape starvation. Fifty years later, he sold his Carnegie Steel Company for $480 million (the equivalent of $13.6 billion today.)
Perhaps surprisingly, Carnegie knew relatively little about the manufacture of steel. He attributed his success not to his own personal expertise and talents, but to the collective intelligence of his team of advisers. This "master mind," as he called it, provided the inspiration for the Mastermind Groups in Napoleon Hill's book, "Think and Grow Rich."
Franklin Roosevelt's Brain Trust is another example of this. During FDR's time as U.S. president, he needed to come up with an economic plan to bring the country through the Great Depression, so he assembled a group of academics to advise him.
Between them they created the New Deal, which regulated bank and stock activity, and provided large-scale relief and public work programs for people living across the United States. The New Deal was controversial when it was announced, but many believe that, without it, the country would have slipped even more deeply into recession. ...