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The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't


The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't Cover

ISBN13: 9781594204111
ISBN10: 159420411x
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writermala, April 22, 2013 (view all comments by writermala)
An interesting, well-written book but I found it wasn't as user-friendly as I expected. It seemed to me that a lay person couldn't grasp all the concepts Silver had stated and explained.

Having said that I have to concede that this might well be the starting point for many of us to dig deeper and try to learn the statistics and Math involved in predictions.

I liked the way Silver explained the difference between risk and uncertainty and predictions and forecasts. All in all an eminently readable book.
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Joseph Bomber, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Joseph Bomber)
Signal and Noise provides a useful view of the world, and I would argue quite meaningful. It also spurred a fire within me to learn about Bayesian statistics!
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davidlong14, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by davidlong14)
Outstanding work of non - fiction. Broad appeal across many areas of interest. As a poker player, I found Silver 's work both revelatory and grounded in insightful commonsense.
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ullaevans, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by ullaevans)
The book introduced me to an interesting way to analyze situations and their probable outcomes. Also, it is a very good read.
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jksquires, December 31, 2012 (view all comments by jksquires)
My son-in-law requested this book for Christmas and I ended up reading it myself. Nate does a great job of explaining how to separate the signal (meaningful data) from the noise (the constant background chatter). I must admit a certain liberal bias, because Silver's incredibly accurate predictions at his 538 site kept us Obama supporters from losing it, but I think independents and even conservatives would derive a lot of from this book. I'm not a math person by any means, but Nate Silver is very good at explaining his methods even to those who do not share his genius.
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Product Details

Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't
Silver, Nate
Penguin Press HC, The
General Political Science
Politics - General
Mathematics | Probability and Statistics
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9.25 x 6.13 in 1 lb

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The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't New Hardcover
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Product details 544 pages Penguin Press HC, The - English 9781594204111 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Despite the fact that there is more information about everything from finance to professional sports available than ever before, predictions 'may be more prone to failure' in this 'era of Big Data.' Balancing technical detail and thoughtful analysis with fluid prose, statistician Silver (FiveThirtyEight) picks apart the many ways in which predictions in various fields have been flawed, while suggesting approaches that could improve the practice. The catastrophic miscalculations on the part of financial lending agencies that led to the recession of 2008 arose for the same types of reasons that caused baseball scouts to undervalue Boston Red Sox all-star player Dustin Pedroia or feed into a political pundit's flawed forecast: overconfidence in models based on oversimplified principles and unrealistic initial assumptions. Though there is no simple solution, a Bayesian methodology, in which prior beliefs are taken into account and initial assumptions constantly revised, would lead to more accurate predictive models. Effective prediction requires, according to Silver, 'the serenity to accept the things we cannot predict, the courage to predict the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.' Agent: Sydelle Kramer, The Susan Rabiner Literary Agency. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century."
"Review" by , "Mr. Silver, just 34, is an expert at finding signal in noise... Lively prose — from energetic to outraged...illustrates his do's and dont's through a series of interesting essays that examine how predictions are made in fields including chess, baseball, weather forecasting, earthquake analysis and politics...[the] chapter on global warming is one of the most objective and honest analyses I've seen...even the noise makes for a good read."
"Review" by , "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...could turn out to be one of the more momentous books of the decade."
"Review" by , "A serious treatise about the craft of prediction — without academic mathematics — cheerily aimed at lay readers. Silver's coverage is polymathic, ranging from poker and earthquakes to climate change and terrorism."
"Review" by , "Mr. Silver's breezy style makes even the most difficult statistical material accessible. What is more, his arguments and examples are painstakingly researched."
"Review" by , "Nate Silver is the Kurt Cobain of statistics....His ambitious new book, The Signal and the Noise, is a practical handbook and a philosophical manifesto in one, following the theme of prediction through a series of case studies ranging from hurricane tracking to professional poker to counterterrorism. It will be a supremely valuable resource for anyone who wants to make good guesses about the future, or who wants to assess the guesses made by others. In other words, everyone."
"Review" by , "Silver delivers an improbably breezy read on what is essentially a primer on making predictions."
"Review" by , "The Signal and the Noise is many things — an introduction to the Bayesian theory of probability, a meditation on luck and character, a commentary on poker's insights into life — but it's most important function is its most basic and absolutely necessary one right now: a guide to detecting and avoiding bullshit dressed up as data....What is most refreshing... is its humility. Sometimes we have to deal with not knowing, and we need somebody to tell us that."
"Review" by , "[An] entertaining popularization of a subject that scares many people off....Silver's journey from consulting to baseball analytics to professional poker to political prognosticating is very much that of a restless and curious mind. And this, more than number-crunching, is where real forecasting prowess comes from."
"Review" by , "Nate Silver serves as a sort of Zen master to American election-watchers....In the spirit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's widely read The Black Swan, Mr. Silver asserts that humans are overconfident in their predictive abilities, that they struggle to think in probabilistic terms and build models that do not allow for uncertainty."
"Review" by , "Silver explores our attempts at forecasting stocks, storms, sports, and anything else not set in stone."
"Review" by , "The Signal and the Noise is essential reading in the era of Big Data that touches every business, every sports event, and every policymaker."
"Review" by , "Laser sharp. Surprisingly, statistics in Silvers hands is not without some fun."
"Review" by , "A substantial, wide-ranging, and potentially important gauntlet of probabilistic thinking based on actual data thrown at the feet of a culture determined to sweep away silly liberal notions like 'facts.'"
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