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
"Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century." (Rachel Maddow, author of Drift)
People who need to know why making predictions is difficult.
Write more about how to make a good prediction - what works?
It didn't really answer the second part of the question: "and some don't".
Then you would have this book. The anecdotes are well told, but there is nothing revolutionary in this book. Nate Silver just reminds us of how bad humans are at just roughly figuring out statistics, then roughly tells you how to get better at forecasting and making predictions. My advice: Read the wikipedia page on Bayes' Theorem and read Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. You will have a better time.
bayesian statistical predictions.
I am being forced to write additional words to meet a 15 word minimum even though I was asked to sum up the book in 3 words
just read it. it's fun for all ages!
I would never sit long enough to read this book in print. It is very "dense" with information and statistics, which it should be because it is a book about statistics, but for the casual or business reader, there is just too much detailed information. It really would have been better as separate books on each topic. If you use statistics for a living, this is a must read.
The most interesting idea was that most studies report erroneous results and no one calls them on it or reports the errors, meaning that most of what we KNOW to be true, isn't. Bayesian analysis was very interesting and useful. Would have liked more information on how to apply it to everyday life and business situations.
Nate does what no one else has managed to do. Write a comprehensive book about statistics and probability that is interesting and informative. I loved listening to this book.
I enjoyed this book, but I'm a bit of a numbers junkie myself. Silver does a great job of explaining complicated subjects in plain English--good enough to make best-seller lists. He explains predictions for politics, weather, baseball, poker, economics including the stock market, earthquakes, global climate change, and terrorism. He ties this together with Bayesian statistics. He describes this in terms that anyone can apply. Along the way he explains over fitting and under fitting of models. He describes the advantages of models based on physical principles. I enjoyed the way he used betting terms (hedgehog and fox) to describe political pundits. I would make this book required reading for a statistics class. It won't thrill everyone, but anyone who is curious about predictions will enjoy it.
This book is exactly what you'd expect based on the title. An explanation of what is involved in statistical modeling, along with real examples of what causes a prediction to fail, as well as what helps a predictive model to be more accurate.
I have a fair amount of training in the hypothesis testing school of statistics, but am far less experienced with modeling. I appreciate the criticism Nate has for hypothesis testing, and found his explanation of "over modeling" to be particularly edifying. I'd suggest this book to anyone that has any desire to understand the modeling process, or to understand why certain modeling efforts are so fruitless (Earthquake, Economics, Etc.).
Like lots of people, I followed online for two election cycles and came to believe that Nate had the best methods for election prediction. Because of that history, I was very interested in this book when it came out. While there was a lot of interesting information in the book, quite a bit of time is spent on Poker, the way he made a living for several years. Not knowing Poker, those sections were not meaningful to me. His analysis of baseball, another area where he did statistical work, was interesting to me although others may not care about it. The discussions of politics were also interesting to me but they were shorter than I expected. Overall, it's pretty good but no more illuminating than other well know books on prediction that you can find on Audible.
I was hoping for something more from the famous Nate Silver. If you have had a sophomore statistics class, then you won't find anything new here. I don't understand why this book gets such good reviews. It's not a bad book, but it's not ground breaking either.
Probably miss out on the charts and illustrations which I presume are in book
If you liked Freakonomics or any of Gladwell's books then you will love this analysis
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