Superforecasting

  • by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  • Narrated by Joel Richards
  • 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From one of the world's most highly regarded social scientists, a transformative book on the habits of mind that lead to the best predictions.
Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week's meals. Unfortunately people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts' predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?
In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary people - including a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancer - who set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. They've beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. They've even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are "superforecasters".
In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future - whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life - and is destined to become a modern classic.

More

See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great for Experts

This is not a book for laymen. This is a book for people who already think they are a pretty good forecaster and want to review ideas which may improve forecasts. Some reviewers seem to think this book did not have much in the way of specifics. I really disagree! I found it totally packed with useful ideas to improve forecasting. Here is my summary of some of the ideas presented:

Personalities:

Enjoy solving puzzles
Enjoy working with numbers
Enjoy deeply learning the viewpoints with which you disagree
Growth Mindset
Grit
Easily change your mind when facts change
Enjoy understanding current events
Embrace Uncertainty
Think probabilistically
Intelligence
Intellectual Humility
Embrace cognitive dissonance

Baseline:

Always make a testable prediction
Always specify a date range
Always specify a confidence range
Examine the question and all assumptions
Examine your own potential biases
Predict to the finest scale reasonable
Research the question (so you can identify the pertinent)
Review opposing viewpoints
Formalize development of a baseline probability.
Decompose prediction into prerequisites
Adjust baseline with prerequisites and details
Examine various scopes to avoid scope invariance

Adjust:

Set Alerts to keep informed of changes
Adjust predictions when facts appear
Adjust predictions over time even if facts don't change
Understand how new knowledge adjusts confidence (Bayes)

Combine:

Use prediction markets and other wisdom of crowds
Combine predictions with diverse others
Encourage Sharing
Extremize combined predictions
Mission Command Leadership

Learn:

Measure with something like Brier Score
Keep Records
Review errors and correct process
Monitor and Avoid belief perseverance

Now, I do have a very few nits to pick.
Firstly the author seems to have a view about uncertainty that I don't share, and I think subtlety clouds his thinking. He believes in randomness. He points out that most superforecasters don't believe in fate and instead use probabilistic thinking. He then seems to reject determinism and he believes science has shown that reality is fundamentally random. Actually reality is at least largely deterministic and maybe completely so (see deBroglie Bohm theory). I don't believe in fate or destiny, but I think the world is (at least mostly) deterministic, but there are limits to our knowledge. Probability, then, is a technique to deal with ignorance, not randomness. It seems to me the author's beliefs about randomness leads him to misunderstand the idea of the Black Swan. Black Swans are rare, but that is not the point. The point is one is ignorant of Black Swans, and does not even consider them, until they find one. In another passage the author implies that an invasion of the earth by aliens has a low probability. How does he know...because it has not happened before? In 1491 what was the probability of discovering a new continent by 1496? Experts and Experience says 0%. Reality says 100%. I say, the probability was very low (based on experience) with a very, very, large variance (almost complete lack of knowledge).

I really enjoyed and learned from this book, but it is really not for everyone. If you do forecasting for a living (or serious hobby) I highly recommend this book.

The narration is very clear and perfect for this material.
There is a PDF that is mildly interesting but not essential.
Read full review

- Michael

overwhelming exposition

I have a lot of respect for this author and all of the hard work that he put into this book. However I cannot recommend it. I was overwhelmed with how much exposition was in this book. It included example after example after example and contained fewer "takeaways" than what I was hoping for.

excellent work. less than compelling read. just not for me.
Read full review

- Brent

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-29-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios