James Michael Surowiecki is an American journalist. He was a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he wrote a regular column on business and finance called "The Financial Page".
Surowiecki was born in Meriden, Connecticut and spent several childhood years in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico where he received a junior high school education from Southwestern Educational Society (SESO). On May 5, 1979, he won the Scripps-Howard Regional Puerto Rico Spelling Bee championship. He is a 1984 graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall and a 1988 alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. Surowiecki pursued Ph.D. studies in American History on a Mellon Fellowship at Yale University before becoming a financial journalist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and is married to Slate culture editor Meghan O'Rourke.
Surowiecki's writing has appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Motley Fool, Foreign Affairs, Artforum, Wired, MIT Technology Review, and Slate.
Before joining The New Yorker, he wrote “The Bottom Line” column for New York magazine and was a contributing editor at Fortune.
He got his start on the Internet when he was hired from graduate school by Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner, to be the Fool's editor-in-chief of its culture site on America Online, entitled "Rogue" (1995–1996). As The Motley Fool closed that site down and focused on finance, Surowiecki made the switch over to become a finance writer, which he did over the succeeding three years, including being assigned to write the Fool's column on Slate from 1997 to 2000.
In 2002, Surowiecki edited an anthology, Best Business Crime Writing of the Year, a collection of articles from different business news sources that chronicle the fall from grace of various CEOs. In 2004, he published The Wisdom of Crowds, in which he argued that in some circumstances, large groups exhibit more intelligence than smaller, more elite groups, and that collective intelligence shapes business, economies, societies and nations. In an article in the Huffington Post in November 2013, Internet entrepreneur and researcher Neil Seeman drew on social media trends over the time since the publication of The Wisdom of Crowds to observe that Mr. Surowiecki wrote his observations about collective intelligence "prior to the proliferation of Facebook and Twitter and 'social filtering'; today, online, we increasingly do not reach any wisdom of any independently-minded crowds. We speak to our friends."