The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't Summary & Study Guide

Nate Silver
This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't.
This section contains 522 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't Study Guide

The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't Summary & Study Guide Description

The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't by Nate Silver.

"The Signal and the Noise" by Nate Silver is a detailed examination and honest assessment of the world of forecasting and predictions. Although we become accustomed to predictions and take them for granted, the ordinary person gives them little thought although they can greatly impact their lives. This is especially true when bad data leads to even worse predictions. Financial forecasting which is risky because of the volatile and dynamic nature of economics led to some bad decisions and behavior which eventually resulted in the Great Recession of 2007, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. We take for granted the forecasts about temperature and rain and snow and don't realize the effort and data that goes into the prediction models and are unaware how weather forecasting has been developed and honed over the years to become one of the most successful forecasting methodologies of all time.

Silver describes how he was bored with his first job as an economic consultant when he first got out of college and became intrigued with poker. This interest led to a near-addiction to on-line gambling. He quit his job and used his knowledge of statistics to predict winning and losing hands, and how his opponents were likely to play out their hands. He was very successful and earned over $100,000 for each of the two years he was a full time poker player. However, when the U.S. government added more restrictions and scared off everyone except the expert players, Silver began to lose and eventually decided he could do more with his mathematical and statistical abilities.

Silver developed a way to predict the performance of baseball players which earned the attention of scouting organizations and Major League Baseball. When he realized that human scouts were besting him on some of his forecasts he decided that he needed to move on. After watching political pundits on cable news shows, he observed that they seemed to be wrong more than they were right. Silver figured he could use statistics to do a better job than the pundits and created the FiveThirtyEight blog which was first featured on the Internet on the Daily Kos. He eventually launched his own website which was ultimately picked up by the New York Times. Although he provided forecasts on a variety of subjects, his main focus was on the world of politics. He was extremely accurate in his predictions and drew a large audience because he accompanied his forecasts with detailed and intellectual explanations of his theories and methodology.

In "The Signal and the Noise" Silver provides great detail on forecasting methods by pioneers and innovators such as English minister Thomas Bayes and statistician Ronald Aylmer Fisher and tells the pros and cons of each. He also provides the history and performance of forecasting models for economics, weather, earthquakes, baseball, politics, climate change and terrorism. Silver cautions against forecasters being overconfident in their forecasts, ignoring context and not properly weighing uncertainty. Most of all he advises anyone who wants to have a successful career in the world of predictions to ignore the noise and look for the signal.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 522 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't Study Guide
Copyrights
Gale
The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook