Philip E. Tetlock, a professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, has extensively studied the science of forecasting. He has sought to create accurate measurements of the accuracy of forecasting and to study the people and conditions that create the most accurate forecasts. What he has learned in his study is that many professional forecasters and pundits are less accurate than the average person taking a wild guess, but that they are never held accountable for the inaccuracy of their forecasts. He found also that many people use two methods of forecasting; 1) taking an intuitive guess, or 2) using critical thinking to arrive at a forecast, and that the latter is the most accurate. One of the more interesting facts Tetlock discovered in his research is that the traits that make a person a good leader, are not necessarily the traits that lead that person to being a good, or super forecaster. Good leaders, though, know to hire and encourage people who are good at making forecasts.
Instaread’s Superforecasting by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review is an excellent summary of the book, and is a worthwhile read on its own. Instaread guides are great for busy reader who want to get an idea about the guts of a book before investing in it. I was also impressed with the cover, a departure from the standard Cliff Notes-like covers of past Instaread books.