- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Virgin Books (5 May 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0753522365
- ISBN-13: 978-0753522363
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail and Why We Believe them Anyway Paperback – 5 May 2011
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"Future Babble is genuinely arresting...required reading for journalists, politicians, academics and anyone who listens to them." (Steven Pinker)
"In this brilliant and engaging book, Dan Gardner shows us how tough forecasting really is, and how easy it is to be convinced otherwise by a confident expert with a good story. This is must reading for anyone who cares about the future." (Paul Slovic, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon)
"Well-researched, well-reasoned, and engagingly written." (John Mueller, author of Overblown and Political Scientist, Ohio State University)
"A rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose." (Philip Tetlock, author of Expert Political Judgement and Mitchell Professor of Organizational Behavior, Hass School of Business, University of California)
"It is a tour de force, absolutely outstanding" (Matt Ridley)
Bestselling author of Risk, Dan Gardner returns with a fascinating and accessible book that uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, exploring the psychology of our obsession with the futureSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, people crave certainty, so they lionize experts who make bold, articulate predictions about what will happen five, ten, fifteen, even fifty years from now, a proposition that is inherently suspect when you consider that chaos theory shows that even small changes in initial assumptions will dramatically change long-term outcomes. Fortunately for the experts and their livelihood, listeners do an incredibly poor job of holding experts accountable for their gross errors. We remember the rare hits and ignore the many, many misses, a point that Gardner illustrates elelgantly and repeatedly.
With wit and broad knowledge of his subjects, Gardner skewers numerous still famous "experts" who have routinely been wrong about things like the price of oil, the scarcity or abundance of commodities, population growth, Y2K, the collapse or persistence of the Soviet Union, and a host of other problems.Read more ›
In a sense, I was right. The one downside of this book is that there isn't honestly a lot here that's new. If you've come across the work of Philip Tetlock, in particular, then you can pretty much guess most of Gardner's thesis.
This, though, is beside the point. The great virtue of Gardner's work is that he is wonderfully clear, persuasive and entertaining. Following Tetlock, he argues that there are two basic thinking styles. As the famous quote has it `the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing'. When called upon to make predictions, experts, says Gardner, behave either like foxes or hedgehogs. Foxes, knowing many things, tend to make cautious predictions hedging them around with qualifications. They don't attach great certainty to them and, if they are wrong, they accept the fact and see what can be learned. Hedgehogs, however, knowing one big thing are absolutely certain about their predictions.Read more ›
This is one of those books that will stop you in the tracks and make you wonder - aren't we asking for it? Aren't we creating an everlasting demand for false prophets to relieve us from making our own conclusions? To surpass our inner voice of discontent, doubt and uncertainty? Does everything need to be black and white and fit our preconceived maps?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked this book. While admittedly I read it to confirm what I already knew, I found it readable enough to get all the way through. Read morePublished 17 months ago by jase
If you are not a skeptic now you certainly will be after reading this book. I cannot listen to any expert predictions now without donning my skeptical caps and assuming that what I... Read morePublished 18 months ago by David
I absolutely loved this book; only fed up that it took me so long to stumble upon it. Wonderfully intelligent, erudite and easy to read, and filled with affectionate warmth towards... Read morePublished 18 months ago by queenreen
One (in the eye?) for SF writers, Futurists and those of us trying to work out which way to vote in the Scottish Referendum. A well written, insightful read.Published on 9 Aug. 2014 by M. H. PAGE
This looks like it is a good book. No, it IS a good book. Based on facts, insightful, challenging and at the same time promotes alternative thinking. Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2014 by lidram
Why do expert predictions fail and why do we believe in them anyway?
The human brain finds the world too complicated to understand it. Read more
Dan Gardner is just too damn good! Risk was an excellent read with lucid arguments and meticulous research and this is as good. Read morePublished on 7 Feb. 2012 by smudge
An entertaining and insightful look at the complete futility of professional fortune-telling, with a particular focus on oil and financial markets. Read morePublished on 6 July 2011 by R. WEST-SOLEY
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