Future Babble: Why Pundits Are Hedgehogs and Foxes Know Best

Future Babble: Why Pundits Are Hedgehogs and Foxes Know Best

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by Daniel Gardner
     
 

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"Genuinely arresting . . . required reading for journalists, politicians, academics, and anyone who listens to them."
-Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works

We are awash in predictions. In newspapers, blogs, and books; on radio and television. Every day experts tell us how the economy will perform next year, if housing sales will

Overview

"Genuinely arresting . . . required reading for journalists, politicians, academics, and anyone who listens to them."
-Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works

We are awash in predictions. In newspapers, blogs, and books; on radio and television. Every day experts tell us how the economy will perform next year, if housing sales will grow or shrink, and who will win the next election. Predictions are offered about the climate, food, technology, and the world our grandchildren will inhabit. And we can't get enough of it.

Drawing on research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics, award-winning journalist Dan Gardner explores our obsession with the future. He shows how famous pundits, "hedgehogs" who stick to one big idea no matter how circumstances change, become expert at explaining away predictions that are wrong while "foxes," who are more equivocal in their judgments, are simply more accurate.

Editorial Reviews

James Harkin
"Hugely enjoyable."
Jonathan Beard
"Gardner not only skewers the pundits who predicted constantly rising oil prices and a Japanese takeover of the world, he also explains why we buy their books."
Philip Tetlock
"A rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose . . . Future Babble will show you how to be a bit smarter than what you usually hear."
-The New York Times Book Review
"Gardner leaves plenty of prognosticators squirming on history's thumbtack."
-James Harkin
"Hugely enjoyable."
-Jonathan Beard
"Gardner not only skewers the pundits who predicted constantly rising oil prices and a Japanese takeover of the world, he also explains why we buy their books."
-Philip Tetlock
"A rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose . . . Future Babble will show you how to be a bit smarter than what you usually hear."
From the Publisher
"Gardner leaves plenty of prognosticators squirming on history's thumbtack." — The New York Times Book Review

"Hugely enjoyable." — James Harkin, Financial Times

"Gardner not only skewers the pundits who predicted constantly rising oil prices and a Japanese takeover of the world, he also explains why we buy their books." — Jonathan Beard, New Scientist

"A rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose . . . Future Babble will show you how to be a bit smarter than what you usually hear." — Philip Tetlock, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

The New York Times Book Review
"Gardner leaves plenty of prognosticators squirming on history's thumbtack."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452297579
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2012
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

Jonathan Beard
"Gardner not only skewers the pundits who predicted constantly rising oil prices and a Japanese takeover of the world, he also explains why we buy their books."
James Harkin
"Hugely enjoyable."
Philip Tetlock
"A rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose . . . Future Babble will show you how to be a bit smarter than what you usually hear."

Meet the Author

Dan Gardner is a columnist for the Ottawa Citizen and has received numerous awards, including the Michener Award and the Amnesty International Canada Media Award. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.

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Future Babble: Why Pundits Are Hedgehogs and Foxes Know Best 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guess this book is exactly the sort of disappointment you would expect from a hedgehog obsessed with a single phenomenon bit without the education or erudition to do better than write a boring history of the common knowledge of failed predictions. I thought I was buying an expose of a phenomenon alongside a meaningful neurological explanation. What I got was an expose of the author's confusion of Wikipedia with having something worth saying. Do not waste your money on this book unless you don't yet have a firm grasp of the basics on the subject...and for that matter, I'm sure someone will fill you in on the basics without wasting your time with a history lesson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book about experts getting it wrong and why we keep getting suckered by them. Parody and psychology. Repeatedly tees off on Dr. Paul Ehrlich, the poster boy of bad prediction. A little overboard in spots(as when the author argues that the Second Coming won't happen because it hasn't), but well written entertaining and informative nevertheless.