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Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  211 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The intelligence failures surrounding the invasion of Iraq dramatically illustrate the necessity of developing standards for evaluating expert opinion. This book fills that need. Here, Philip E. Tetlock explores what constitutes good judgment in predicting future events, and looks at why experts are often wrong in their forecasts.

Tetlock first discusses arguments about whe
Paperback, 321 pages
Published August 20th 2006 by Princeton University Press (first published July 5th 2005)
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Billie Pritchett
Oct 23, 2015 Billie Pritchett rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Philip Tetlock's book Expert Political Judgment wants to know something very simple that is very difficult to find out. Through research, Tetlock wants to know how people can make good predictions about big social, economic, and political issues. For example: Is it possible for an expert to have predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union? Did anyone predict the collapse? What kinds of knowledge would an expert have to have to predict something like that?

After a long and detailed study, he discov
Adam S. Rust
Dec 07, 2012 Adam S. Rust rated it it was amazing
An ambitious and thought-provoking study on the value and reliability of experts in the field of politics and the economy. Starting in the 1980s political scientist Philip Tetlock interviewed experts seeking their predictions on the outcomes various future events (such as Gorbachev's interest in reform, the ascendency of Japanese economic power, etc.).

The conclusions drawn from the outcomes of these expert predictions were bleak, experts are frequently wrong and almost consistently underperform
May 29, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing
This a fantastic data based exploration of just how little political pundits actually know. And in fact the more media exposed, the more single view of the world they possess, the less accurate are their political forecasts. Philip Tetlock over 20 years persuaded political experts to make predictions on a wide variety of topics, only to find that most experts were less reliable than a chimp picking options via a dart board. He used Isaiah Berlin's wonderful distinction between the Hedgehog that ...more
Devin Partlow
Feb 11, 2014 Devin Partlow rated it it was ok
At first glance you'd think, "Awesome a book that will help to choose which political experts I should put my faith in". But then you'd have to remember that this big scientific experiment which didn't take influence into account. If a prominent figure predicts that something is going to happen, that prediction is going to influence the outcome.

If life could be neatly controlled like simulated lab environments, the results of these social experiments would hold weight, but unfortunately that's
Pete Welter
Nov 08, 2012 Pete Welter rated it really liked it
Political experts and pundits share their predictions every day via think thanks, lectures and often through the media. Their qualifications are almost invariably impeccable. However, they often contradict each other, so we know they can't always be right. The question this answers are: "how accurate are they?" and, if some experts are more accurate than others, "what are the characteristics of the most accurate forecasters?" To answer these questions, Tetlock did a long term study with hundreds ...more
Wai Yip Tung
Jun 29, 2012 Wai Yip Tung rated it really liked it
This is Philip Tetlock's ambitious study to measure and quantify expert's judgment over political events. The main finding is expert sucks. They are hardly better than chimps. But still he discover there are two category of people with different cognitive style that matters. The "hedgehogs" know one big thing and show much confidence in his grand theory to expand and predict things. The "foxes" know many small things, uses diverse source of information for forecasting rather and are more open to ...more
Jul 28, 2013 Marks54 rated it it was amazing
This book reports on a research project to understand the bases behind expert political judgment. What does it mean to make such judgments and how do we determine the quality of such judgments -- or the "track record" of those experts making the judgments. This is a hard question to address. Quality judgment is not just about whether some prediction comes true or not. It is not just about simple forecasting. It is not about simple topics, such as whether a make of car will be reliable, but conce ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Tobias rated it really liked it
A bonafide classic. Tetlock is quite foxlike in his willingness to entertain the possibility not only that he could be wrong but also that the whole project could be misguided. Not only conducts robust tests (in my opinion) of forecasting abilities but gives fair presentations of competing theoretical perspectives.
Frans Saxén
Tetlock proceeds an interesting study of how bad experts are at making predictions. While many experts might want to claim that making predictions is not really their main expertise, the results Tetlock presents are nevertheless interesting, and should give pause for thought. The book is quite rich in detail, so much so that for a casual reading it is not always the greatest of pleasures. Nevertheless, the flip side of this is that the methodology is quite clearly spelt out, and as said, the res ...more
Michelle Tran
The study and methodology to quantify forecasting judgements was interesting, but the academic verbiage was somewhat distracting.
Patrick Bair
Oct 01, 2014 Patrick Bair rated it liked it
An interesting study in the science of judging judgment; but I must admit, my inner statistician was way more than satisfied.
Nov 21, 2014 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The best predictor of good judgment is the extent to which people think about thinking.

Interesting book. Feeds into my confirmation bias about the importance of metacognition (and the fact that I am probably a 'fox').

Foxes tend to fall short when presented with a wide range of scenarios (overestimate probabilities of events when imagining many possible scenarios).
Robb Seaton
I'm confused as to the purpose of this book. It starts with data -- formal models consistently outperform human judgment -- and then spends the rest of the book deconstructing what separates terrible human judgment from bad human judgment. Shouldn't we be talking about, you know, model building?
Frank Sloth Aaskov
Oct 17, 2015 Frank Sloth Aaskov rated it did not like it
Worst book I have read this year. Basically just a very long academic article. Here I thought I'd read an interesting non-fiction on expert political opinion, and instead I was bored by page after page of methodology, blabber and dense footnotes. Not recommendable to anyone.
Sep 05, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it
Excellent. It changed the way I think about people: foxes and hedgehogs are part of my internal vocabulary now. The author's conclusions were well documented, and though it is a bit dry, scholarly, and repetitive in parts, I appreciated those choices.
Nick Harris
Mar 19, 2015 Nick Harris rated it liked it
Shelves: belief-thinking
Not the easiest read, some of the chapters are very heavy on the theory, methodology and statistics. Which means this books will never ever win awards. Unless it does. Perhaps
Oct 26, 2011 Jen marked it as potential-reads
Heard Tetlock's google author's talk about Foxes (better forecasters, not married to ideology) and Hedgehogs (love big organizing principals). He is running the Good Judgment Project.
Jul 13, 2011 Phil rated it really liked it
Fascinating book where the author holds "experts" in social science to account. I like it because it favors ideological flexibility instead of rigidly clinging to one theory.
Feb 25, 2014 Warren rated it really liked it
I'f you're going to read this book, which I strongly suggest you do, make sure you have a working knowledge of stats before starting.
Shyam Rk
Nov 21, 2015 Shyam Rk rated it it was amazing
"The average expert is roughly as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee."
Aug 02, 2007 Marcus rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book. Now.
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