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âThe most important book on decision making since Daniel Kahneman'sÂ Thinking, Fast and Slow.ââJason Zweig,Â TheÂ Wall Street Journal
Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the weekâs meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even expertsâ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?
In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary peopleâincluding a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancerâwho set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. Theyâve beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. Theyâve even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are "superforecasters."
In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Ladenâs compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesnât require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course.
Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the futureâwhether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily lifeâand is destined to become a modern classic.
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