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The Signal and the Noise Audiobook

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

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Publisher's Summary

Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters.

Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.

In keeping with his own aim to seek truth from data, Silver visits the most successful forecasters in a range of areas, from hurricanes to baseball, from the poker table to the stock market, from Capitol Hill to the NBA. He explains and evaluates how these forecasters think and what bonds they share. What lies behind their success? Are they good - or just lucky? What patterns have they unraveled? And are their forecasts really right? He explores unanticipated commonalities and exposes unexpected juxtapositions. And sometimes, it is not so much how good a prediction is in an absolute sense that matters but how good it is relative to the competition. In other cases, prediction is still a very rudimentary - and dangerous - science.

Silver observes that the most accurate forecasters tend to have a superior command of probability, and they tend to be both humble and hardworking. They distinguish the predictable from the unpredictable, and they notice a thousand little details that lead them closer to the truth. Because of their appreciation of probability, they can distinguish the signal from the noise.

With everything from the health of the global economy to our ability to fight terrorism dependent on the quality of our predictions, Nate Silver’s insights are an essential listen.

©2012 Nate Silver (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century." (Rachel Maddow, author of Drift)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2685 )
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Performance
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  •  
    William Leawood, KS, United States 11-19-12
    William Leawood, KS, United States 11-19-12

    Bill K

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining and instructive"

    A guide to logical thinking and alalysis of data that should be required reading for everyone. Covers somewhat different territory from that first plowed by Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics, but just as insightful.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eben V Pelcyger Boulder, CO United States 01-02-17
    Eben V Pelcyger Boulder, CO United States 01-02-17 Member Since 2013
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    "excellent, ages well"

    I enjoyed the book when I listened to it in in 2013 and again in 2017. it ages very well. timeless observations throughout book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom 11-06-16
    Tom 11-06-16 Member Since 2017
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    "The best book on predictive analytics"

    I've read many, and this one is the best- by far. Don't shy away because of the length, it's all good stuff even if you don't care for baseball.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Yates 10-29-16
    S. Yates 10-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Educational and entertaining"
    Any additional comments?

    A well-known and excellent book on human cognition and the ability to discern cogent information from a flood of data, and how the intersection of these topics help and hinder efforts to predict events. The book is a nice compliment to a handful of others on cognitive bias, heuristics, behavioral economics, and forecasting (see famous books by Kahneman, Tetlock, and Thaler), and though each subject area is distinct enough on its own, they bleed over into one another and understanding each, in turn, allows a fuller understanding of the rest. Silver, famous for his site FiveThirtyEight acquired by ESPN, offers a number of portraits of areas where prediction is practiced to varying success. He clearly has the most extensive knowledge of sports (especially baseball), poker, and politics -- areas where he made his name. However, I felt the book truly shined when he approached other areas like weather, earthquakes, climate change, economics, and terrorism. Using these areas that we all hear about often allowed him to highlight successful strategies to better prediction, as well as underscore the pitfalls that many "experts" fall for. An educational and entertaining read, well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P Trent Vonich 10-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "For the rational thinker"
    Where does The Signal and the Noise rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    top 5 books i've listened to on audible


    What other book might you compare The Signal and the Noise to and why?

    similar to Tactics in that it gives an approach to reason through information


    What does Mike Chamberlain bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Investor 10-20-16
    Investor 10-20-16 Member Since 2016

    reader

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    "Good story,no formulas"

    The stories were interesting. Yet I was expecting more explanations, tips, hints on how to filter signal from the noise. The conclusion- it is hardly possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan M Axelson 10-14-16 Member Since 2014
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    "awesome story"

    I highly recommend that solid audio book to anyone interested in reports, analytics or improving they're forecasting ability

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard Sterling 10-13-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Really is real education in the real art/science"

    Scary and useful. Necessary to read to understand our world. Well written with some necessary repeats.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Wagner Miami 09-13-16
    B. Wagner Miami 09-13-16
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    "nice performance of some compelling stories"

    Logged the whole thing in a couple days while driving. Great experience kept me engaged the whole time

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Peck 09-08-16
    Robert Peck 09-08-16

    Rob

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    "Too much noise."

    Too much noise imho. Enough useful information for an article. Not enough for a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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