Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless, and You Can Do Better

Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless, and You Can Do Better

by Dan Gardner
     
 

ISBN-10: 0525952055

ISBN-13: 2900525952052

Pub. Date: 03/17/2011

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history.

In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world's fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed

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Overview

An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history.

In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world's fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1908, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe; we all know how that turned out. Face it, experts are about as accurate as dart- throwing monkeys. And yet every day we ask them to predict the future- everything from the weather to the likelihood of a terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, showing why our brains yearn for certainty about the future, why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently, and why it's so easy for us to ignore the trail of outrageously wrong forecasts.

In this fast-paced, example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious book, journalist Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by UC Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock proved that the more famous a pundit is, the more likely he is to be right about as often as a stopped watch. Gardner also draws on current research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics to discover something quite reassuring: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900525952052
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/17/2011
Edition description:
NE
Pages:
320

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction 1

2 The Unpredictable World 29

3 In the Minds of Experts 58

4 The Experts Agree: Expect Much More of the Same 91

5 Unsettled by Uncertainty 118

6 Everyone Loves a Hedgehog 143

7 When Prophets Fail 193

8 The End Is Nigh 234

Notes 267

Bibliography 287

Index 295

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