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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.
75 of 76 people found this review helpful
Important nuggets of wisdom are buried in an avalanche of bloated a anecdotes, personal gloating and thinly veiled, politically biased preaching.
For those of you who just want the essence, let me summarize the only parts of the book that are actually valuable
Continuously improve, see what works, what doesn't, and adapt(duh).
Use clearly defined measurements and numbers when assessing your precision.
If you are able to spend more time in forecasting, you will do better than those who don't have as much time (again, duh)
Read the news a lot to keep up with current events
Read up on and research whatever you are forecasting
Seek out opposing views, especially those that contradict your own view
Start from a reasonable base line (called an outside view) and wok from there
And that's pretty much all that was to be gained from the book. The other lessons are explained far better by superior authors such as Kahnemann.
The rest is mostly noise and can be safely skipped over.
20 of 21 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 :)
6 of 7 people found this review helpful