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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:
Enjoy solving puzzles
Enjoy working with numbers
Enjoy deeply learning the viewpoints with which you disagree
Easily change your mind when facts change
Enjoy understanding current events
Embrace cognitive dissonance
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
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)
Use prediction markets and other wisdom of crowds
Combine predictions with diverse others
Extremize combined predictions
Mission Command Leadership
Measure with something like Brier Score
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.
84 of 85 people found this review helpful
I recently enrolled in a sports prediction ring with some friends and I chose this book because I wanted to see if it might give me some insights into the art/science of prediction in general. Clearly the focus of this book is not sport at all, but I thought there must be some generalizable, transferable aspects – and there are. But on the whole I’d say the book mainly matched my existing perceptions of how to predict the future, although I did pick up a few nice nuggets along the way and there was some value in the book’s confirmation of some things I felt already knew.
The author states that there is no such thing as fate and that everything is the result of happenstance and probability. For example, I know that my being born was the random product of the circumstances of my parents’ meeting, the fact that none of their parents were killed in World War 2, the arbitrary time and place where I was conceived and the incredible odds against me winning a sperm race. I've never believed that life is predetermined by fate or destiny. So this was not news to me at all.
So how do you make good predictions? A few things help: It helps to be numerate, to diligently study the subject matter in question, to update your predictions as circumstances change, to keep an open mind.
There were a few things I hadn’t realised, such as the fact that lay people predict the future just as well, if not better, than experts - as long as they do the necessary research – and also, that groups fare better than individuals. There is a kind of ‘emergent property’ of groups whereby the totality is greater than the sum of the parts, as long as the group members interact cooperatively.
Overall I’d say that this book is worth the read, but I predict with 73% certainty that I’ll have forgotten it in 6 months’ time.
34 of 38 people found this review helpful
good use of history and examples, very straightforward language and easy to understand, concept conveyed
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed the audiobook. very easy to grasp the key points on how to reach good judgement. how our approach to forecasting and analysis needs to change to include more aggregation and more variables.
gives insight on the good judgement Project and the outcomes.
few key messages for professionals:
1) consult across sectors
3) use a base score
4) incrementally improve forecasts and prediction and regularly review works
5) test the validity of data
6) don't fall for pundits :)
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
What would have made Superforecasting better?
It's not a very strong argument compared to say kahneman and tversky.
What could Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
I don't think it adds enough value to be a book.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The writing was dull so I suppose the narrator didn't have much to work with.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I wonder how much money has been wasted funding this academic folly
1 of 1 people found this review helpful