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Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction Paperback – 7 Apr 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books (7 April 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847947158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847947154
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"The techniques and habits of mind set out in this book are a gift to anyone who has to think about what the future might bring. In other words, to everyone." (Economist)

"A terrific piece of work that deserves to be widely read … Highly recommended." (Independent)

"This marvelous book tells an exciting story of ordinary people beating experts in a very serious game. It is also a manual for thinking clearly in an uncertain world. Read it." (Daniel Kahneman)

"Full of excellent advice – it is the best thing I have read on predictions … Superforecasting is an indispensable guide to this indispensable activity." (The Times)

"Philip Tetlock has transformed the science of prediction." (Spectator)

"The most important book on decision making since Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow." (Wall Street Journal)

"Fascinating and breezily written." (Sunday Times)

"Superforecasting is a fascinating book." (Daily Mail)

"Superforecasting is a very good book. In fact it is essential reading." (Management Today)

"The best way to know if an idea is right is to see if it predicts the future. But which ideas, which methods, which people have a track record of non-obvious predictions vindicated by the course of events? The answers will surprise you, and they have radical implications for politics, policy, journalism, education, and even epistemology – how we can best gain knowledge about the world. The casual style of Superforecasting belies the profundity of its message." (Steven Pinker)

"Superforecasting is a rare book that will make you smarter and wiser. One of the giants of behavioral science reveals how to improve at predicting the future." (Adam Grant)

"The material in Superforecasting is new, and includes a compendium of best practices for prediction . . . [It offers] us all an opportunity to understand and react more intelligently to the confusing world around us." (New York Times Book Review)

"Tetlock's 'Ten Commandments For Aspiring Superforecasters' should probably have a place of honor in most business meeting rooms." (Forbes)

"There isn't a social scientist in the world I admire more than Phil Tetlock." (Tim Harford)

"Superforecasting is the most important scientific study I’ve ever read on prediction." (Bloomberg View)

"A fascinating study of what it is that makes some forecasters consistently better than others." (International Politico)

"Tetlock's work is fascinating and important, and he and Gardner have written it up with verve. - Financial Times " (Stephen Cave)

"Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner, is one of the most interesting business and finance books published in 2015." (John Kay Financial Times)

"The lessons of superforecasting are keenly relevant to huge swathes of our lives." (Matthew Syed The Times)

"Tetlock writes boldly about wanting to improve what he sees as the bloated, expensive – and not terribly accurate – intelligence apparatus that advises our politicians and drives global affairs." (City A.M.)

"Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting is a common-sense guide to thinking about decision-making and the future by a man who knows this terrain like no one else." (Books of the Year Bloomberg Business)

"What I found most interesting was the continuous process of integrating new information to test and modify existing beliefs … clearly a beneficial skill in financial markets" (Citywire)

"Social science has enormous potential, especially when it combines 'rigorous empiricism with a resistance to absolute answers.' The work of Philip Tetlock possesses these qualities." (Scientific American)

"A fascinating book." (PR Week)

"Offers a valuable insight into the future of management." (CMI Management Book of the Year judges)

"Both rigorous and readable. The lessons are directly relevant to business, finance, government, and politics." (Books of the Year Bloomberg Business)

"A scientific analysis of the ancient art of divination which shows that forecasting is a talent." (Books of the Year Economist)

"A top choice [for best book of 2015] among the world’s biggest names in finance and economics . . . Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer, Deutsche Bank Chief U.S. Economist Joe LaVorgna, and Citigroup Vice Chairman Peter Orszag were among those giving it a thumbs-up." (Bloomberg Businessweek)

"Just as modern medicine began when a farsighted few began to collect data and keep track of outcomes, to trust objective 'scoring' over their own intuitions, it's time now for similar demands to be made of the experts who lead public opinion. It's time for evidence-based forecasting." (Washington Post)

"Captivating . . . [Tetlock's] writing is so engaging and his argument so tantalizing, readers will quickly be drawn into the challenge . . . A must-read field guide for the intellectually curious." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Tetlock and Gardner believe anyone can improve their forecasting ability by learning from the way they work. If that's true, people in business and finance who make an effort to do so have a lot to gain – and those who don't, much to lose." (Financial Post)

Book Description

A ground-breaking new work on improving our ability to predict future events.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Weather forecasts aside, forecasting is rarely put to a rigorous test. The news and the consultancy industries are stuffed full of confident forecasts about the future - and in both cases the more confidently outrageous the forecast, the more attention and kudos it frequently attracts.

But what do you find if you actually put forecasts to the test by recording them, checking which were right or wrong, and analysing who is best at making forecasts?

That is what Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner set out to do in Superforecasting, based on a mammoth twenty-year study by Tetlock of predictions about current affairs. Funded by the US intelligence community - who have an obvious interest in accurate forecasting - Tetlock has run regular forecasting competitions to see who is best. Teams or individuals? Experts or novices? And so on.

Most 'experts' are not very expert when it comes to predictions it turns out. In Tetlock's research the average expert is only marginally better at predicting the future than a layperson applying random guesswork. But some - the superforecasters - are consistently better and they use approaches which we can all learn. It is not down to some mystical inbuilt talent.

The picture painted in Superforecasting is that the best forecaster has to behave almost like the opposite of what makes for a media-friendly pundit.

They should always be questioning their own assumptions and approaches. They should always remain modest about their certainty. They should always listen to the views of others. They should be more interested in learning how to be better at forecasting than in declaiming their own claimed brilliance compared to others. They should admit when they are wrong and learn from it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The authors of this intriguing book are respectively a professor of psychology and a journalist. Both have publshed extensively. Professor Tetlock has spent many years researching forecasting. His conclusions became famous when he showed in an earlier work that a dart-throwing chimpanzee could do as well as the average human pundit. Here he is keen to show that forecasting need not be a flop.

We are all forecasters. We make forecasts about the weather, marriage, investment and many, many other things. In brief, we make decisions based on our expectations about the future. So-called experts deal in forecasting and many make fortunes out of so doing. Hundreds of questions arise every day that demand a forecasted answer, for example: what are Russia's intentions in Syria, will inflation rise, will GB leave the EU, and will Iran detonate a nuclear device in the next five years or less?

Every day the media delivers forecasts without telling us how good the forecasters are. Every day leaders of states, banks, and businesses pay for forecasts that may turn out to be worthless. Key decisions are made on the basis of forecasts whose quality is unknown. Millions are paid for a sportsman on the basis of reports who turns out to be a failure. The authors of this book argue that forecasting is a skill that can be learned. They also show that although many believe the average expert does little better than random guessing, forecasting need not be a fool's errand.

Although we need to acknowledge the limits on predictability, we should not dismiss all predictions as an exercise in futility. The authors illustrate this with several examples, for example actuaries, tides and eclipses. Of course, an unknown event can knock even these predictions off course.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tetlock is famous for proving experts know almost nothing about the future, he is quoted everywhere for that, but in this book he finds a class of people ... who are not experts, but find a way to make predictions. It explains how useful predictions are structured. They change. They can be made by nonprofessionals. Everyone knows today, after the impact of Taleb's The Black Swan that prediction is a sucker's game, or a turkey problem, but under certain circumstances, and admitting that the Unpredictable can always happen, there does seem to be room for other thoughts on the matter. I did not find the book exciting to read, it did not grip and disturb my imagination or change my way of life, but it was not unworth reading.
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If you want to understand what will happen in the future, do you ask a distinguished tv pundit, or do you go to a chimp throwing darts at a board? Philip Tetlock's very readable book explains that you'd be better off with the chimp. Sadly talking heads are mostly good at telling you what is going to happen, and then explaining afterwards why it didn't - or insisting against all the evidence, that actually, it did.

He then goes on to show that there are so-called "superforecasters", but they aren't the experts in academia, the media and politics, and reveals the science behind superforecasting. Anyone reasonably intelligent can learn it. This is a refreshing and positive book. But it leaves you wondering why Governments and big corporations are not beating a path to Tetlock's door.
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