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.
The Signal and the Noise …in 30 Minutes is the essential guide to quickly understanding the fundamental components of prediction outlined in Nate Silver’s bestselling book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail ¬– but Some Don’t. In The Signal and the Noise bestselling author, political analyst, and statistician Nate Silver investigates the fundamentals of forecasting and answers why too much information can be misleading. Exploring a variety of fields, ranging from politics to poker to Wall Street and global warming, Silver explores why some forecasts are successful and, perhaps more telling, why so many fail. Stressing the importance of acknowledging personal bias, Silver posits that better forecasters possess a superior understanding of uncertainty and are driven by truth and humility while overconfidence can lead to failure. Presenting a framework for what constitutes a good forecast, Silver provides insight and tools for understanding how to successfully utilize Big Data and decipher meaningful signals from random noise.
Author: The 30 Minute Expert Series
Release Date: 2013-03-29
Genre: Business & Economics
For a complete understanding of Nate Silver's Signal and the Noise, we strongly encourage you to purchase the original book titled The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--But Some Don't by Penguin Publishing Big data has arrived! Whether you're using that data to make a billion-dollar decision to merge two companies or to choose a team to win the World Series, how do you distinguish the signal (the truth) from the noise (our all-too-human impulse to make choices based on personal bias)? In his groundbreaking work The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver brings the complexities of statistics down to earth by using real-life examples of how we all make predictions and why those predictions are often wrong. The Signal and the Noise in 30 Minutes is your expert guide to Nate Silver's main thesis that our decision making is filtered through our personal assumptions and beliefs as opposed to the truth of the data at hand. This concise companion details: * Nate Silver's journey from forecasting Major League Baseball players' performance to predicting the outcome of U.S. presidential elections * Both praise for and critical reactions to his ideas from such noted sources as the New York Review of Books and the Wall Street Journal * Key concepts, including analyzing prediction failures, practicing Bayesian thinking, and expanding self-awareness * Key terms, such as Bayes's theorem, with easy-to-understand definitions and examples * Recommended readings and a bibliography listing additional resources analyzing Silver's work and the phenomenon of big data The Signal and the Noise in 30 Minutes is a timely guide to a topic that affects all our lives. From choosing stocks, to predicting wars, to making personal changes in light of climate change, The Signal and the Noise challenges both nations and individuals to make smarter choices. About the 30 Minute Expert Series Offering a concise exploration of a book's ideas, history, application, and critical reception, the 30 Minute Expert Series is designed for busy individuals interested in acquiring an in-depth understanding of seminal works. More than just a summary, the 30 Minute Expert Series offers detailed analysis, critical presentation of key ideas and their application, extensive reading lists for additional information, and a contextual understanding of the work of leading authors. Designed as a companion to the original work, the 30 Minute Expert Series enables readers to develop expert knowledge of an important work ... in 30 minutes.
Author: Philip E. Tetlock
Release Date: 2015-09-29
Genre: Business & Economics
A New York Times Bestseller An Economist Best Book of 2015 "The most important book on decision making since Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow." —Jason Zweig, The Wall Street Journal 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. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesn’t require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course. 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. From the Hardcover edition.
Bayes rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok. In the first-ever account of Bayes' rule for general readers, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it. She traces its discovery by an amateur mathematician in the 1740s through its development into roughly its modern form by French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace. She reveals why respected statisticians rendered it professionally taboo for 150 years at the same time that practitioners relied on it to solve crises involving great uncertainty and scanty information, even breaking Germany's Enigma code during World War II, and explains how the advent of off-the-shelf computer technology in the 1980s proved to be a game-changer. Today, Bayes' rule is used everywhere from DNA de-coding to Homeland Security.Drawing on primary source material and interviews with statisticians and other scientists, The Theory That Would Not Die is the riveting account of how a seemingly simple theorem ignited one of the greatest controversies of all time.
Foreword by Steven Pinker Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions. By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable. Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women? Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.
Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder memorably records the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. The Soul of a New Machine is an essential chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century.
Year two of this fresh, timely, beautiful addition to the Best American series, introduced by Nate Silver The rise of infographics across virtually all print and electronic media reveals patterns in our lives and worlds in fresh and surprising ways. As we find ourselves in the era of big data, where information moves faster than ever, infographics provide us with quick, often influential bursts of art and knowledge — to digest, tweet, share, go viral. Best American Infographics 2014 captures the finest examples, from the past year, of this mesmerizing new way of seeing and understanding our world. Guest introducer Nate Silver brings his unparalleled expertise and lively analysis to this visually compelling new volume.
Author: Dominique Haughton
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2011-09-18
Genre: Social Science
The purpose of this book is to introduce, discuss, illustrate, and evaluate the colorful palette of analytical techniques that can be applied to the analysis of household survey data, with an emphasis on the innovations of the past decade or so. Most of the chapters begin by introducing a methodological or policy problem, to motivate the subsequent discussion of relevant methods. They then summarize the relevant techniques, and draw on examples – many of them from the authors’ own work – and aim to convey a sense of the potential, but also the strengths and weaknesses, of those techniques. This book is meant for graduate students in statistics, economics, policy analysis, and social sciences, especially, but certainly not exclusively, those interested in the challenges of economic development in the Third World. Additionally, the book will be useful to academics and practitioners who work closely with survey data. This is a book that can serve as a reference work, to be taken down from the shelf and perused from time to time.
Author: Philip E. Tetlock
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2017-09-05
Genre: Political Science
Since its original publication, Expert Political Judgment by New York Times bestselling author Philip Tetlock has established itself as a contemporary classic in the literature on evaluating expert opinion. Tetlock first discusses arguments about whether the world is too complex for people to find the tools to understand political phenomena, let alone predict the future. He evaluates predictions from experts in different fields, comparing them to predictions by well-informed laity or those based on simple extrapolation from current trends. He goes on to analyze which styles of thinking are more successful in forecasting. Classifying thinking styles using Isaiah Berlin's prototypes of the fox and the hedgehog, Tetlock contends that the fox--the thinker who knows many little things, draws from an eclectic array of traditions, and is better able to improvise in response to changing events--is more successful in predicting the future than the hedgehog, who knows one big thing, toils devotedly within one tradition, and imposes formulaic solutions on ill-defined problems. He notes a perversely inverse relationship between the best scientific indicators of good judgement and the qualities that the media most prizes in pundits--the single-minded determination required to prevail in ideological combat. Clearly written and impeccably researched, the book fills a huge void in the literature on evaluating expert opinion. It will appeal across many academic disciplines as well as to corporations seeking to develop standards for judging expert decision-making. Now with a new preface in which Tetlock discusses the latest research in the field, the book explores what constitutes good judgment in predicting future events and looks at why experts are often wrong in their forecasts.
Author: John Allen Paulos
Publisher: Hachette UK
Release Date: 2013-09-10
In this lively volume, mathematician John Allen Paulos employs his singular wit to guide us through an unlikely mathematical jungle—the pages of the daily newspaper. From the Senate and sex to celebrities and cults, Paulos takes stories that may not seem to involve math at all and demonstrates how mathematical naïveté can put readers at a distinct disadvantage. Whether he's using chaos theory to puncture economic and environmental predictions, applying logic to clarify the hazards of spin doctoring and news compression, or employing arithmetic and common sense to give us a novel perspective on greed and relationships, Paulos never fails to entertain and enlighten.
Author: Rob Thomas
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2015-01-07
Genre: Technology & Engineering
Exploit the power and potential of Big Data to revolutionize business outcomes Big Data Revolution is a guide to improving performance, making better decisions, and transforming business through the effective use of Big Data. In this collaborative work by an IBM Vice President of Big Data Products and an Oxford Research Fellow, this book presents inside stories that demonstrate the power and potential of Big Data within the business realm. Readers are guided through tried-and-true methodologies for getting more out of data, and using it to the utmost advantage. This book describes the major trends emerging in the field, the pitfalls and triumphs being experienced, and the many considerations surrounding Big Data, all while guiding readers toward better decision making from the perspective of a data scientist. Companies are generating data faster than ever before, and managing that data has become a major challenge. With the right strategy, Big Data can be a powerful tool for creating effective business solutions – but deep understanding is key when applying it to individual business needs. Big Data Revolution provides the insight executives need to incorporate Big Data into a better business strategy, improving outcomes with innovation and efficient use of technology. Examine the major emerging patterns in Big Data Consider the debate surrounding the ethical use of data Recognize patterns and improve personal and organizational performance Make more informed decisions with quantifiable results In an information society, it is becoming increasingly important to make sense of data in an economically viable way. It can drive new revenue streams and give companies a competitive advantage, providing a way forward for businesses navigating an increasingly complex marketplace. Big Data Revolution provides expert insight on the tool that can revolutionize industries.
Author: Jon Meacham
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2012-11-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Bloomberg Businessweek In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power. Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things—women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris—Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history. The father of the ideal of individual liberty, of the Louisiana Purchase, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and of the settling of the West, Jefferson recognized that the genius of humanity—and the genius of the new nation—lay in the possibility of progress, of discovering the undiscovered and seeking the unknown. From the writing of the Declaration of Independence to elegant dinners in Paris and in the President’s House; from political maneuverings in the boardinghouses and legislative halls of Philadelphia and New York to the infant capital on the Potomac; from his complicated life at Monticello, his breathtaking house and plantation in Virginia, to the creation of the University of Virginia, Jefferson was central to the age. Here too is the personal Jefferson, a man of appetite, sensuality, and passion. The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world. Praise for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power “This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written.”—Gordon S. Wood “A big, grand, absorbing exploration of not just Jefferson and his role in history but also Jefferson the man, humanized as never before.”—Entertainment Weekly “[Meacham] captures who Jefferson was, not just as a statesman but as a man. . . . By the end of the book . . . the reader is likely to feel as if he is losing a dear friend. . . . [An] absorbing tale.”—The Christian Science Monitor “This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin From the Hardcover edition.
Author: James Owen Weatherall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 2013-01-08
Genre: Business & Economics
After the economic meltdown of 2008, Warren Buffett famously warned, “beware of geeks bearing formulas.” But as James Weatherall demonstrates, not all geeks are created equal. While many of the mathematicians and software engineers on Wall Street failed when their abstractions turned ugly in practice, a special breed of physicists has a much deeper history of revolutionizing finance. Taking us from fin-de-siècle Paris to Rat Pack-era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes on the Pacific coast, Weatherall shows how physicists successfully brought their science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from options pricing to bubbles. The crisis was partly a failure of mathematical modeling. But even more, it was a failure of some very sophisticated financial institutions to think like physicists. Models—whether in science or finance—have limitations; they break down under certain conditions. And in 2008, sophisticated models fell into the hands of people who didn’t understand their purpose, and didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. The solution, however, is not to give up on models; it's to make them better. Weatherall reveals the people and ideas on the cusp of a new era in finance. We see a geophysicist use a model designed for earthquakes to predict a massive stock market crash. We discover a physicist-run hedge fund that earned 2,478.6% over the course of the 1990s. And we see how an obscure idea from quantum theory might soon be used to create a far more accurate Consumer Price Index. Both persuasive and accessible, The Physics of Wall Street is riveting history that will change how we think about our economic future.
Author: Charles Wheelan
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2013-01-07
“Brilliant, funny . . . the best math teacher you never had.”—San Francisco Chronicle Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more. For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions. And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.