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Forewarned: A Sceptics Guide to Prediction Paperback – 13 Jul 2017
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Forewarned is one of those books that will leave you far better informed than you were before you picked it up. --E&T Magazine
The book is awash with entertaining examples of predictions that were astoundingly accurate and others that were spectacularly wrong. --Irish Times
About the Author
Paul Goodwin is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bath, where he taught and researched forecasting and decision making. He has a PhD from Lancaster University and an MSc from Warwick University and he has acted as a consultant to both leading companies and government departments. In 2013 he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the International Institute of Forecasters in recognition of his contribution to forecasting.
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He discusses the strengths and limitations of statistical forecasts; when should we turn to judgment instead; the power of the wisdom of crowds; the importance of estimating uncertainty; the role of forecasting in our everyday lives; that we should judge a forecast not only by its accuracy but also the quality of the process itself; the difference between decisions and forecasts; and much more. Paul warns us about bad predictions and he offers a simple triptych so that we can identify them and prepare ourselves.
And he does explore all these fascinating aspects in a very approachable way, even for somebody who is unfamiliar with forecasting and predictions. But even if you identify yourself as a forecaster, you will love this book as much as I did.
For Paul Goodwin we struggle with forecasts because we genuinely seek for certainty.
From there, Paul Goodwin deconstructs how we cope with forecasts by delivering a pragmatic approach; With the support of a huge number of research results and real life examples, he enumerates about 15 phenomenons/concepts that mislead our ability to forecast well.
On his way, he demystifies experts and unbalanced use of a theories like Gauss law or Black-Scholes equation.
The reader is forced to question himself and that’s where the persuasiveness is coming from.
Get forewarned! Get forearmed! ...to aknowledge and live with uncertainty.
He gives stories about how predictions went rigth or wrong. But many of them are invented, starting off with "say you do X, then say Y happens, and say you react by doing Z." These are just inventions of the author. Real life examples would be more convincing.
Many ideas are repeated. He'll write "technique 1 can work, but it can also fail." Then in another chapter "technique 2 can work, but it can also fail."
He points out that many reputations are built on a single prediction that went right, while the predicter's failures are forgotten. I'd have liked to see a list if the author's prediction results.
The final page ends with the admonition: "Be skeptical".
Oh, and he repeats himself a lot. He'll write "technique X can work, but it can also fail." Then in another chapter "technique Y can work, but it can also fail."