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

Kobo ebook | September 27, 2012

byNate Silver

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One of Wall Street Journal's Best Ten Works of Nonfiction in 2012
 
New York Times Bestseller

“Not so different in spirit from the way public intellectuals like John Kenneth Galbraith once shaped discussions of economic policy and public figures like Walter Cronkite helped sway opinion on the Vietnam War…could turn out to be one of the more momentous books of the decade.”
New York Times Book Review
 
"Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century."
—Rachel Maddow, author of Drift

"A serious treatise about the craft of prediction—without academic mathematics—cheerily aimed at lay readers. Silver's coverage is polymathic, ranging from poker and earthquakes to climate change and terrorism."
—New York Review of Books

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 thirty. He solidified his standing as the nation's foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the 2012 election. Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.com.
 
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 read.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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

Kobo ebook | September 27, 2012
Available for download Not available in stores
$18.99

From the Publisher

One of Wall Street Journal's Best Ten Works of Nonfiction in 2012   New York Times Bestseller “Not so different in spirit from the way public intellectuals like John Kenneth Galbraith once shaped discussions of economic policy and public figures like Walter Cronkite helped sway opinion on the Vietnam War…could turn out to be one of the...

Format:Kobo ebookPublished:September 27, 2012Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1101595957

ISBN - 13:9781101595954

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book for anyone who is interested in forecasting and stats. Provides lots of real-life examples in an array of topics such as poker, weather, baseball, politics, and more.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sickest! Should be a must read for everyone, along with a basic understanding of statistics, this book will give everyone a better understanding of how the world works.
Date published: 2014-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gotta Love the Stats! This book is a bit of a monster! Interesting, worthwhile but hard going in places. Unless you're really keen on prediction, probability and statistics, you might want to give this a miss.
Date published: 2013-06-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Signal and the Noise In the vein of Freakanomics, with less freaking.
Date published: 2013-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Nate Silver is a genius. This book is a must-read. You never thought you would love a book about statistics until now!
Date published: 2013-02-21