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Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock
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Superforecasting Quotes Showing 1-30 of 161
“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.”
Charles T. Munger, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“For scientists, not knowing is exciting. It’s an opportunity to discover; the more that is unknown, the greater the opportunity.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“For superforecasters, beliefs are hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be guarded.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Churchill sent Keynes a cable reading, ‘Am coming around to your point of view.’ His Lordship replied, ‘Sorry to hear it. Have started to change my mind.’ ”7”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Consensus is not always good; disagreement not always bad. If you do happen to agree, don’t take that agreement—in itself—as proof that you are right. Never stop doubting.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously,” Daniel Kahneman noted, “but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.”
Philip E. Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“It’s very hard to master and if you’re not learning all the time, you will fail. That being said, humility in the face of the game is extremely different than humility in the face of your opponents.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“It was the absence of doubt—and scientific rigor—that made medicine unscientific and caused it to stagnate for so long.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“If you have to plan for a future beyond the forecasting horizon, plan for surprise. That means, as Danzig advises, planning for adaptability and resilience.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Be careful about making assumptions of expertise, ask experts if you can find them, reexamine your assumptions from time to time.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“It follows that the goal of forecasting is not to see what’s coming. It is to advance the interests of the forecaster and the forecaster’s tribe.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“There is no divinely mandated link between morality and competence.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function,” F. Scott Fitzgerald”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“All models are wrong,” the statistician George Box observed, “but some are useful.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Foresight isn’t a mysterious gift bestowed at birth. It is the product of particular ways of thinking, of gathering information, of updating beliefs. These habits of thought can be learned and cultivated by any intelligent, thoughtful, determined person.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Here’s a very simple example,” says Annie Duke, an elite professional poker player, winner of the World Series of Poker, and a former PhD-level student of psychology. “Everyone who plays poker knows you can either fold, call, or raise [a bet]. So what will happen is that when a player who isn’t an expert sees another player raise, they automatically assume that that player is strong, as if the size of the bet is somehow correlated at one with the strength of the other person’s hand.” This is a mistake.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“And yet this stagnation is a big reason why I am an optimistic skeptic. We know that in so much of what people want to predict—politics, economics, finance, business, technology, daily life—predictability exists, to some degree, in some circumstances. But there is so much else we do not know.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“All who drink of this treatment recover in a short time, except those whom it does not help, who all die,” he wrote. “It is obvious, therefore, that it fails only in incurable cases.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“the facts change, I change my mind.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“They aren’t gurus or oracles with the power to peer decades into the future, but they do have a real, measurable skill at judging how high-stakes events are likely to unfold three months, six months, a year, or a year and a half in advance. The other conclusion is what makes these superforecasters so good. It’s not really who they are. It is what they do. Foresight isn’t a mysterious gift bestowed at birth. It is the product of particular ways of thinking, of gathering information, of updating beliefs.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Suppose someone says, “Unfortunately, the popularity of soccer, the world’s favorite pastime, is starting to decline.” You suspect he is wrong. How do you question the claim? Don’t even think of taking a personal shot like “You’re silly.” That only adds heat, not light. “I don’t think so” only expresses disagreement without delving into why you disagree. “What do you mean?” lowers the emotional temperature with a question but it’s much too vague. Zero in. You might say, “What do you mean by ‘pastime’?” or “What evidence is there that soccer’s popularity is declining? Over what time frame?” The answers to these precise questions won’t settle the matter, but they will reveal the thinking behind the conclusion so it can be probed and tested. Since Socrates, good teachers have practiced precision questioning, but still it’s often not used when it’s needed most. Imagine how events might have gone if the Kennedy team had engaged in precision questioning when planning the Bay of Pigs invasion: “So what happens if they’re attacked and the plan falls apart?” “They retreat into the Escambray Mountains, where they can meet up with other anti-Castro forces and plan guerrilla operations.” “How far is it from the proposed landing site in the Bay of Pigs to the Escambray Mountains?” “Eighty miles.” “And what’s the terrain?” “Mostly swamp and jungle.” “So the guerrillas have been attacked. The plan has fallen apart. They don’t have helicopters or tanks. But they have to cross eighty miles of swamp and jungle before they can begin to look for shelter in the mountains? Is that correct?” I suspect that this conversation would not have concluded “sounds good!” Questioning like that didn’t happen, so Kennedy’s first major decision as president was a fiasco. The lesson was learned, resulting in the robust but respectful debates of the Cuban missile crisis—which exemplified the spirit we encouraged among our forecasters.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“success can lead to acclaim that can undermine the habits of mind that produced the success.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition,” Bill Gates wrote. “You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal….This may seem basic, but it is amazing how often it is not done and how hard it is to get right.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Unpack the question into components. Distinguish as sharply as you can between the known and unknown and leave no assumptions unscrutinized. Adopt the outside view and put the problem into a comparative perspective that downplays its uniqueness and treats it as a special case of a wider class of phenomena. Then adopt the inside view that plays up the uniqueness of the problem. Also explore the similarities and differences between your views and those of others—and pay special attention to prediction markets and other methods of extracting wisdom from crowds. Synthesize all these different views into a single vision as acute as that of a dragonfly. Finally, express your judgment as precisely as you can, using a finely grained scale of probability.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Forget the old advice to think twice. Superforecasters often think thrice—and sometimes they are just warming up to do a deeper-dive analysis.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“Knowing what we don’t know is better than thinking we know what we don’t.”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“We are all forecasters. When we think about changing jobs, getting married, buying a home, making an investment, launching a product, or retiring, we decide based on how we expect the future will unfold.”
Philip E. Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“But when big events happen—markets crash, wars loom, leaders tremble—we turn to the experts, those in the know. We look to people like Tom Friedman.”
Philip E. Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“The foundations of our decision making were gravely flawed,” McNamara wrote in his autobiography. “We failed to analyze our assumptions critically, then or later.”5”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
“With firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in,” Abraham Lincoln”
Philip Tetlock, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

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