HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some…

by Nate Silver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,602744,250 (3.87)32
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.
Recently added byprivate library, mdibaiee, Gadi_Cohen, royragsdale, Shai.Dorsai, mezentius, davidpporter, jasonradams47
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
  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)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 32 mentions

English (72)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
Very good.
Statistical approach to prediction.
Lots of examples from diverse fields, economy, baseball, weather, earthquakes, terrorism.
Another good primer on Bayes Theorem.
Completely worth reading for anyone interested in making better predictions (assessments, analysis, decisions)
( )
  royragsdale | Sep 22, 2021 |
Too much baseball. But still great. ( )
  marzagao | Jun 1, 2021 |
The first 3 chapters of this one were my favorites. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
As the most famous "data journalist" out there, Nate Silver is the poster child of the recent trend of using data analytics to enhance traditional journalism (not to be confused with writing whatever you want and then throwing a graph on it). While he made his name in baseball and politics, and he does discuss those subjects in detail, in this book he also sets his sights a little higher: not just how to tell good predictions from bad predictions, but how to actually make predictions, weigh evidence, and even change your mind. The first part of the book discusses examples of prediction in sports, economics, and more offbeat areas like earthquakes and natural disasters, while the second is a guided tour through Bayesian statistics, the current best model we have for making inferences about uncertain events and updating our guesses in light of new information. Agree or disagree with him, the alternative to the bad use of statistics is not no use of statistics, and Silver's approach to modeling is about the best there is out there in terms of humility and rigor. Even should you violently disagree with him, he quite helpfully gives you plenty of conceptual tools to go and improve on his work on your own. Sometimes the chapters feel breezy, but given how low the general level of statistical literacy is out there, in comparison this is a masterclass in clear, concise, and useful thinking. And, in a slightly meta reflection upon finishing the book, given his relative success in acknowledging the uncertainty in the 2016 election forecasts (his model gave Trump 30% chance to win on the eve of the election vs 1% at places like the New York Times) I feel I can trust him more, which essentially proves his point. It's always neat when a book does that. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Enjoyable, but not really very insightful or educational. 4/5 for entertainment, 3/5 for education. A kind of tortured introduction to Bayes vs. Frequentists (without actually describing Frequentists very well). Lots of examples from crap like baseball which I really don't care about. I'd personally recommend a book like Freakonomics and a brief intro to statistics, instead.

(Audible audiobook) ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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."
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nate Silverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chamberlain, MikeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewey, AmandaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Mom and Dad
First words
Introduction

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


It was October 23, 2008.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
"Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century." —Rachel Maddow, author of Drift

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.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.87)
0.5
1 4
1.5 1
2 28
2.5 2
3 112
3.5 32
4 229
4.5 27
5 114

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141975652, 1846147735

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 162,452,752 books! | Top bar: Always visible