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Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  15,529 ratings  ·  1,171 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Crown
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Jørgen Ernstsen Not much in my opinion. This is like a hybrid of Signal and the Noise and Thinking fast and slow.

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Yannick Serres
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During the first hundred pages, I was sure to give the book a perfect score. It totally caught my attention and made me want more and more. The book made me feel like it had been written for me, someone that don't know much about predictions and forecasts, but feels like he could be good at it.

Then, after the half of the book, you get a little bored because it always come back to the same thing: Use number to make your predictions in a well established timeframe, always question your predictions
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Philip Tetlock is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a co-leader of the Good Judgment Project, a long-term forecasting study. It is a fascinating project whose purpose is to improve the accuracy of forecasts. You can learn more about the project on theGood Judgment website. In this book you can learn the basics of how to make accurate forecasts in the face of uncertainty and incomplete facts.

An amazing tournament was held, which pitted amateur volunteers in the Good Judgment Pr
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5⭐️ - What a great book!

It will definitely appeal to the fans of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

Thought-provoking and full of very perceptive observations. But I particularly would like to commend authors for how well this book is written. This is an example of non-fiction at its best. There is definitely research and background science overview but each chapter is a proper story
Elizabeth Theiss
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to forecasting, most pundits and professionals do little better than chimps with dartboards, according to Phillip Tetlock, who ought to know because he has spent a good deal of his life keeping track. Tetlock has partnered with Dan Gardner, an excellent science journalist, to write this engaging book about the 2 percent of forecasters who manage to consistently outperform their peers.

Oddly, consumers of forecasts generally do not require evidence of accuracy. Few television networ
Philip E. Tetlock feels a bit too polite. Sometimes it seems he is excusing wrong predictions by finding weasel words in them or interpreting them kindly instead of using the intended assertion.
Just say, Thomas Friedman is a bad forecaster.
Instead of reading this book I recommend reading the books he references:
Thinking, Fast and Slow The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable and The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't
This books feels like a (superficial
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book features some interesting trivia about "Super-forecasters" but when it comes to explaining evidence-based practice, it was Super-disappointing. It starts off well with a discussion of Archie Cochrane and evidence-based medicine (EBM), but then it bizarrely ignores the core concepts of EBM.

-In EBM, you look up what works and then use that info to help people instead of killing them. But when Tetlock talks about social philanthropy he implies that it's evidence-based as long as you rigo
John Kaufmann
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was solid, though perhaps not quite as good as I hoped/expected. It was interesting reading, full of interesting stories and examples. The author doesn't prescribe a particular method - superforecasting, it appears, is more about a toolbox or set of guidelines that must be used and adapted based on the particular circumstances. As a result, at times I felt the author's thread was being lost or scattered; however, upon reflection I realized it was part of the nature of making prediction ...more
Pavlo Illiashenko
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Harry Truman famously said
: Give me a one-handed economist! All my economics say, ''On the one hand? on the other.''

Philip Tetlock combines three major findings from different areas of research:

1) People don't like experts who are context specific and could not provide us with clear simple answers regarding complex phenomena in a probabilistic world. People don't like if an expert sounds not 100% confident. They reason, that confidence represents skills.

2) Experts who employ publicly acceptable
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm giving this a 4 even though I didn't complete it. It's very well written and structured but I just decided half way through that the subject wasn't for me.

Some exceptional real-world examples though!
Michal Mironov
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I usually rank my favorite books on a line between „extremely readable“ and „ very useful“. This one is probably among my Top 3 most useful books ever. The other two are Kahneman's “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, and Taleb's “Black Swan”. You don't have to agree on everything with the author, but you still will get dozens of truly important facts that can fundamentally affect your life. Don't be misguided by the title – you really have to read this book even if you don't have the ambition to predict ...more
Maru Kun
Feb 18, 2020 marked it as interesting-but-dubious
Troubled to find I own, as yet unread, a book recommended by Dominic Cummings.

Now I’ve lost all desire to read it and have to put it on the “interesting-but-dubious shelf” and wonder whether or not I’m a weirdo who can’t tell the difference between real science and pseudoscience.

The book gets a mention from Cummings in this video: Tory backlash as Boris Johnson's rogue No10 chief Dominic Cummings refuses to condemn ousted 'superforecaster' Andrew Sabisky who 'posted vile Reddit comments defendi
Paul Phillips
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good and well thought out ideas, particularly relevant to anyone who has any sort of forecasting responsibilities in their work. I think this is a must read for economists.
My only quarrel is that the beginning is a lot more punchy and the end kind of drags.
Leland Beaumont
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Summarizing 20 years of research on forecasting accuracy conducted from 1984 through 2004, Philip Tetlock concluded “the average expert was roughly as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee.” More worrisome is the inverse correlation between fame and accuracy—the more famous a forecasting expert was, the less accurate he was. This book describes what was learned as Tetlock set out to improve forecasting accuracy with the Good Judgement Project.

Largely in response to colossal US intelligence erro
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
PT's Superforecasting correctly remarks upon the notable failure to track the performance of people who engaged in predicting the outcome of political events. This lack of accountability has led to a situation where punditry amounts little more than entertainment; extreme positions offered with superficial, one-sided reasoning; aimed mainly at flattering the listeners' visceral prejudices.

One problem is expressed positions are deliberately vague. This makes it easy for the pundit to later requa
Superforcasting: The Art of Science and Prediction, by Philip E. Tetlock, is a book about the art and science of statistical prediction, and its everyday uses. Except it isn't really, that is just what they are selling it as. The book starts off really strong, analyzing skepticism, illusions of statistical knowledge, and various types of bias. However, the majority of the book focuses on a US government intelligence project called IARPA, designed to use everyday citizens to make statistical pred ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best book I read in 2015. Couldn't have read at a better time as the year nears an end. I could relate with a lot of things as I work as an equity analyst trying to do the seemingly impossible thing of forecasting stock prices. In particular, the examples of how superforecasters go about doing their jobs were pretty inspiring. Examples of taking the outside view and creating a tree of various outcomes and breaking down that tree into branches are something I could benefit from.

As a
Frank Ruscica
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading an advance copy. The signal-to-noise ratio of this book: maximum.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As Hume noted, there’s no rational basis for believing that the sun will rise tomorrow. Yet our brain wants to have it simple – we believe that the future will be like the past. The problem here is that the truth of that belief is not self-evident, and there are always numerous possibilities that the future will change. It means that our causal reasoning can’t be justified rationally, and thus there’s no rational basis for believing that the sun will rise tomorrow. However, virtually nobody woul ...more
Allen Adams
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Ever since mankind has grasped the concept of time, we have been trying to predict the future. Whole cottage industries have sprung up around the process of prediction. Knowing what is coming next is a need that borders on the obsessive within our culture.

But is it even possible to predict what has yet to happen?

According to “Superforecasters: The Art and Science of Prediction”, the answer is yes…sort of. Social scientist Philip Tetlock and journalist Dan
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting. The book shows some common misconceptions about forecasting, well, statistics really. I'm often surprised by how people, including me, misinterpret data. The book also showed what it takes to be an excellent forecaster. Basically, requires the same skills as anything: pay attention, evaluate yourself, know your blindspots, be humble, practice. ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
It sucks when an audiobook is penned by two people but you hear a lot of “I” and “me”. After a little bit of background check, apparently the “I” and “me” guy is Tetlock, the scientist, while Gardner is just here for the ride. And also because he’s a journalist and because he can write. But maybe I’m wrong.

Anyway, the end-result is worth it. It’s a very detailed account of two forecasting tournaments, which aim to find out if people are better than chance at predicting the future. Short answer:
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The point Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner are trying to make is that in the field of forecasting we seldom measure the accuracy of a prediction retrospectively, it applies especially to talking heads giving vague opinions often with no timeframes in media about the trends in the stock market, crisis in Syria, results of next elections etc. The unfortunate thing is that the same happens or happened previously in the national intelligence services as well. No scores were kept on the accuracy levels ...more
Shrey Srivastava
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I find a great irony with this work is that its main lessons apply not mainly to forecasting near-term phenomena - however important those may be - but also to how to approach decisions in life from a more pragmatic perspective. We are all guilty of succumbing to the many heuristics highlighted by Tetlock, and a cursory glance into ourselves tells us just how flawed we are, and hence just how far there is to go.

Although not as rare as we might think, superforecasters are special. They may not be
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many of my friends were recommending this book to me and now that I've read it, I regret not doing it sooner. Do yourself a favor and read it asap! ...more
Fairly good when talking about forecasting and taking insights from Tetlock's long run studies; poor when tries to convert that into business advice. Pleasant to read throughout. ...more
Katrina Stevenson
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I truly think I learned a lot about how to forecast more accurately, and what to be aware of when listening to the forecasts of others. It definitely expanded my critical eye when it comes to experts, claims of fact, etc.
Simon Eskildsen
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread
The average human forecaster is no better than a monkey throwing darts. Evolutionarily, we've developed a simple three-dial system for making decision: Do I see a huge dangerous predator? Yes, run. Maybe, stay alert / run. No, relax. Whenever we do venture into predictions, it's with a vague vocabulary filled with rubbery words: may, soon, highly likely, unlikely, .. The statement "Greece may default in the near future" really doesn't mean anything: may is completely uncertain, and the near futu ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t have a lot to say about this book. Other than it’s good and the author Phil Tetlock is an extremely well regarded social scientist.

My uncharacteristic lack of verbiage is not necessarily a slam on this book. It’s more of a reflection of how dang overloaded I am at present with work and school.

It all has to get done. But in the meantime, my goodreads output has jumped the shark so to speak.

That being said:

Superforcasters documents Tetlock’s work studying individuals and teams that have
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Social scientist Philip Tetlock talks about his multi-year experiment to measure and identify ways to improve our forecasts. A lot of his findings appear to be common sense, i.e. many forecasts are very nebulous and difficult to disprove and so we can't really tell if we are improving, big problems can be forecast by breaking them into more manageable pieces (Fermi-izing in his terminology), our judgement is affected by various biases, etc. The contribution is that Tetlock has brought these idea ...more
A Man Called Ove
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I first heard of this book on CNN's GPS podcast, but the name "Superforecasting" reminded me of "Super-freakonomics", which inturn remined of dubious smartass hindsights and which caused me to ignore the recommendation. Tetlock was cited again by Steven Pinker in his book "Enlightenment Now" and that finally got me to pick it up.
Can you really forecast geopolitical events ? Surprisingly yes.
Do you need a special ability to be a "super-forecaster" ? Not really.
What then do you need ?
The book desc
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Superforecasting: White Rats and Foxes 1 16 Sep 06, 2015 06:15PM  

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“If you don’t get this elementary, but mildly unnatural, mathematics of elementary probability into your repertoire, then you go through a long life like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.” 21 likes
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