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The signal and the noise : why most…
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The signal and the noise : why most predictions fail but some don't (edition 2012)

by Nate Silver

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1,485515,005 (3.92)24
Member:ansate
Title:The signal and the noise : why most predictions fail but some don't
Authors:Nate Silver
Info:New York : Penguin Press, 2012.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:nonfiction, statistics, library

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The signal and the noise: Why so many predictions fail—but some don't by Nate Silver

  1. 20
    Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (BenTreat)
    BenTreat: Integrates some of the analytical techniques Silver describes with common irrational patterns of decision-making; Kahneman's book explains how to use some of Silver's techniques (and other tools) to avoid making decisions which are not in one's own best interest.… (more)
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» See also 24 mentions

English (49)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Mostly excellent tour of different disciplines where predictions are made -- from natural disasters to financial markets to sports to politics. Silver makes a strong case for using Bayesian reasoning whenever possible, and encourages fox-like thinking vs. hedgehog thinking -- hence the fox icon on the fivethirtyeight website. In his chapter on political pundits, Silver skewers Dick Morris for having predicted that Donald Trump would mount a credible campaign for the presidency in 2012. It turns out he was only off by one election cycle! ( )
  pheinrich | May 17, 2016 |
A fairly heavy read, but provides insight into how data can be used correctly or incorrectly to support an idea or a theory. Math geeks will love this one. ( )
  AllInStride | Apr 20, 2016 |
Disorganized a bit too heavy for my tastes. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
A very disappointing book for anyone who knows anything about statistics, probability and forecasting. ( )
  pgmcc | Feb 18, 2016 |
The first half dissecting why so many forecasts and predictions are bad was great, but in the second half that attempts to explain how to make predictions better it provides very little insight and falls apart when he gets into overlong explanations of Bayesian theory and starts making up probabilities out of thin air in order to prove his point in examples (the odds of a terrorist flying a plane into a building in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 is 1 in 20,000?). It was quite disappointing to see this turn after the rest of the book was so heavily footnoted and documented, and it was also completely unnecessary and somewhat gratuitous. Why? I quickly gave up on it at that point. ( )
1 vote jaydro | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The first thing to note about The Signal and the Noise is that it is modest – not lacking in confidence or pointlessly self-effacing, but calm and honest about the limits to what the author or anyone else can know about what is going to happen next. Across a wide range of subjects about which people make professional predictions – the housing market, the stock market, elections, baseball, the weather, earthquakes, terrorist attacks – Silver argues for a sharper recognition of "the difference between what we know and what we think we know" and recommends a strategy for closing the gap.
added by eereed | editGuardian, Ruth Scurr (Nov 9, 2012)
 
What Silver is doing here is playing the role of public statistician — bringing simple but powerful empirical methods to bear on a controversial policy question, and making the results accessible to anyone with a high-school level of numeracy. The exercise is 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. Except that their authority was based to varying degrees on their establishment credentials, whereas Silver’s derives from his data savvy in the age of the stats nerd.
added by eereed | editNew York Times, Noam Scheiber (Nov 2, 2012)
 
A friend who was a pioneer in the computer games business used to marvel at how her company handled its projections of costs and revenue. “We performed exhaustive calculations, analyses and revisions,” she would tell me. “And we somehow always ended with numbers that justified our hiring the people and producing the games we had wanted to all along.” Those forecasts rarely proved accurate, but as long as the games were reasonably profitable, she said, you’d keep your job and get to create more unfounded projections for the next endeavor.......
added by marq | editNew York Times, LEONARD MLODINOW (Oct 23, 2012)
 
In the course of this entertaining popularization of a subject that scares many people off, the signal of Silver’s own thesis tends to get a bit lost in the noise of storytelling. The asides and digressions are sometimes delightful, as in a chapter about the author’s brief adventures as a professional poker player, and sometimes annoying, as in some half-baked musings on the politics of climate change. But they distract from Silver’s core point: For all that modern technology has enhanced our computational abilities, there are still an awful lot of ways for predictions to go wrong thanks to bad incentives and bad methods.
added by eereed | editSlate, Matthew Yglesias (Oct 5, 2012)
 
Mr. Silver reminds us that we live in an era of "Big Data," with "2.5 quintillion bytes" generated each day. But he strongly disagrees with the view that the sheer volume of data will make predicting easier. "Numbers don't speak for themselves," he notes. In fact, we imbue numbers with meaning, depending on our approach. We often find patterns that are simply random noise, and many of our predictions fail: "Unless we become aware of the biases we introduce, the returns to additional information may be minimal—or diminishing." The trick is to extract the correct signal from the noisy data. "The signal is the truth," Mr. Silver writes. "The noise is the distraction."
 

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Introduction

This is a book about information, technology, and scientific progress.
1
A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE
OF PREDICTION


It was October 23, 2008.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 159420411X, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012: People love statistics. Statistics, however, do not always love them back. The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver's brilliant and elegant tour of the modern science-slash-art of forecasting, shows what happens when Big Data meets human nature. Baseball, weather forecasting, earthquake prediction, economics, and polling: In all of these areas, Silver finds predictions gone bad thanks to biases, vested interests, and overconfidence. But he also shows where sophisticated forecasters have gotten it right (and occasionally been ignored to boot). In today's metrics-saturated world, Silver's book is a timely and readable reminder that statistics are only as good as the people who wield them. --Darryl Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:18 -0400)

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. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141975652, 1846147735

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