We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Signal and the Noise Audiobook

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

Regular Price:$24.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (2884 )
5 star
 (1320)
4 star
 (1035)
3 star
 (406)
2 star
 (94)
1 star
 (29)
Overall
4.2 (2437 )
5 star
 (1130)
4 star
 (819)
3 star
 (379)
2 star
 (89)
1 star
 (20)
Story
4.3 (2450 )
5 star
 (1140)
4 star
 (912)
3 star
 (327)
2 star
 (48)
1 star
 (23)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    R. Hackett 02-27-13
    R. Hackett 02-27-13

    virtue

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not really anything new."
    What did you like best about The Signal and the Noise? What did you like least?

    It was clear and generally well presented (accessible to a wide audience). I was well aware that people generally are not good at making predictions, relying too heavily on their heuristics and biases (e.g. failure to use prior probabilities as called for by Bayesian statistics); and the importance of putting "band widths" around probability estimates. I also thought that much too much text was devoted to each of the major topics covered (e.g. weather forecasting, political forecasts, economic forecasts, picking stocks, gambling/poker strategies, etc.). These sections could have been considerably shorter.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    "Is that all there is?"


    Which character – as performed by Mike Chamberlain – was your favorite?

    N/A


    Could you see The Signal and the Noise being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Generally disappointing, in that it did not expand my knowledge -- though I don't fault the book, as I've read widely in this area.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Leawood, KS, United States 11-19-12
    William Leawood, KS, United States 11-19-12

    Bill K

    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Jeff 05-21-17
    Jeff 05-21-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A bit long winded but excellent insights"

    a stat lovers dream with excellent insights although could have been shorter. Some chapters rambled on far too long after making their main point

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff 05-18-17
    Jeff 05-18-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent book"

    A great discussion of the challenges to producing reliable forecasts of future natural, political, economic, sociological - and meteorological - events

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Hall Calgary, Alberta Canada 05-08-17
    Richard Hall Calgary, Alberta Canada 05-08-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "pretty good - just kind of scattered"

    not something you would learn alot from. interesting coverage of subject material - just not alot I could walk away with afterwards

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy 05-06-17
    Jimmy 05-06-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good insight however a bit too much story"

    good examples throughout the book, and usually done with a clear target, however Nate spends a little too much time on backstories and unnecessary details. For the most part the book was well written and just what I expected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie 04-13-17
    Katie 04-13-17 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Huge Nate Silver Fan"

    Usually, my understanding of statistics makes me feel safer than most. The last hour of this book undid that. The rest of the book was just as interesting, but less terrifying. I've become a fan of Bayesian thinking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tristan 04-04-17
    Tristan 04-04-17 Member Since 2016

    Urban planner. Environmentalist. Geek.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    224
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    40
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Read this, then read Superforecasting"

    This is a good book because he focuses more on "why so many predictions fail" then on why "some don't." I went in expecting the author to gloat about his successes with five easy steps for how you can too. It's not like that at all. Instead, it's a sober reflection on all the ways prediction can go wrong, but why real progress is possible if we learn to think about the problem correctly.

    Once you read it, go read Superforecasting by Tetlock and Gardner. The two books fit together like it's a sequel. While Silver illustrates all the reasons prediction is hard, Tetlock and Gardner illustrate why certain people—when carefully trained—can become much better at it than your average person. In a sense, they show how to take the lessons from Silver's book and make progress.

    Both excellent reads. Can't recommend them enough. We need to understand prediction to evaluate so much of the news coming at us. This is a solid place to start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. T. 03-15-17
    V. T. 03-15-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    76
    41
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good, but repeats many other books on the topic"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It's a very good book, but it basically repackages stories, theories, and anecdotes from other books on the topic. If you've read nothing on why predictions fail - it'll be a good read for you. If you've read a few other books on the topic - this one won't tell you much new.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert D. Croucher Vancouver, WA 02-03-17
    Robert D. Croucher Vancouver, WA 02-03-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good information, pertinent."

    It was dry, but not bad considering the subject.
    The narrator didn't match prose tightly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.