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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.
©2015 Philip Tetlock Consulting, Inc., and Connaught Street, Inc. (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 02-20-17

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.

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100 of 101 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 11-26-15

Not totally pointless

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.

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42 of 46 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By QIU on 02-24-16

one of the best books I listened to

good use of history and examples, very straightforward language and easy to understand, concept conveyed

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Flavia A. Popescu on 02-10-16

book presents a new way of thinking

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
2) aggregate
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 :)

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Prophetmines on 02-22-18

Of little value

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

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Cedric Hodges on 05-12-18

Well worth a listen

This book provides a great balance between deep concepts and helpful anecdotes and stories. I'd recommend to anyone interested in economics or data science.

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