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By Ryan Leggio | 01-14-2010 05:56 PM

Mauboussin on the Wisdom of Crowds

The Legg Mason chief investment strategist and author of 'Think Twice' on applying principles from the wisdom of crowds to money management.

Ryan Leggio: Hi, I'm Ryan Leggio. I'm a mutual fund analyst here at Morningstar, and with me today is Michael Mauboussin, the chief investment strategist of Legg Mason Capital Management. He's also an adjunct professor at Columbia University, the author of numerous books, and his newest book is entitled "Think Twice."

Michael, thanks so much for joining us today.

Michael Mauboussin: Ryan, great to be with you.

Leggio: I thought we'd talk a little bit about the title of your book and how you basically used a "wisdom of crowds"-type process and an Amazon tool to come up with it.

Mauboussin: Exactly, well, I try to practice what I preach a little bit. It's an interesting thing. We debated about what the title should be, and I thought "Think Twice" would make some sense because it's active. It's literal. It's a good title.

My editor was a little bit uncomfortable with it, and it turns out I realized why. About a year ago they published another book called "Think Again," which is not quite as good a title, but you can see how that would cause some confusion.

So I said to her, "Just give me some title ideas, and we'll see."

She'd throw them at me, and I would say, "Why do you like that one?"

They would say, "Well, we just think it sounds good."

There was basically no foundation for it. So we decided to take matters into our own hands, and we created a title tournament. You're exactly right. We went to Amazon.com. It's got a feature called Mechanical Turk where you give what are called Human Intelligence Tasks, or HITs, to people for small micropayments.

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