The Signal and the Noise

The Art and Science of Prediction

Uitgever: Penguin UK
  • Engels
  • 1e druk
  • 9780141975658
  • april 2013
  • 544 pagina's
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Nate Silver

Nathaniel Read Silver (born January 13, 1978) is an American statistician and writer who analyzes baseball (see sabermetrics) and elections (see psephology). He is the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight and a Special Correspondent for ABC News. In April 2018, ABC News became FiveThirtyEight's new home, replacing ESPN.

(Bron: Wikipedia. Beschikbaar onder de licentie Creative Commons Naamsvermelding/Gelijk delen.)


Every time we choose a route to work, decide whether to go on a second date, or set aside money for a rainy day, we are making a prediction about the future. Yet from the financial crisis to ecological disasters, we routinely fail to foresee hugely significant events, often at great cost to society. In "The Signal and the Noise", the "New York Times" political forecaster Nate Silver, who accurately predicted the results of every single state in the 2012 US election, reveals how we can all develop better foresight in an uncertain world. From the stock market to the poker table, from earthquakes to the economy, he takes us on an enthralling insider's tour of the high-stakes world of forecasting, showing how we can use information in a smarter way amid a noise of data - and make better predictions in our own lives.


Outstanding... I was hooked -- Tim Harford * Financial Times * One of the more momentous books of the decade * The New York Times Book Review * A lucid explanation of how to think probabilistically * Guardian * The inhabitants of Westminster are speed-reading The Signal and the Noise... They will find the book remarkable and rewarding * Sunday Telegraph * Is there anything now that Nate Silver could tell us that we wouldn't believe? * Jonathan Freedland * Fascinating... our age's Brunel -- Bryan Appleyard * Sunday Times * A surprisingly accessible peek into the world of mathematical probability -- Daily Telegraph The Galileo of number crunchers * Independent * A 34-year old Delphic Oracle * Daily Beast *

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  • Less and less wrong
    • Heldere boodschap
    • Praktisch toepasbaar
    • originele visie

    Less and less wrong

    In our knowledge about the world, Newtonian mechanics is an exception. It allows you to make such precise predictions that you can send a man to the moon and bring him back safely. Outside physics however, unpredictability reigns: a plane flies into the World Trade Center one sunny morning, the prestigious Goldman Sachs bank goes tits up and Germany ends up as Weltmeister. Who would have guessed that?
    Nate Silver, a 35-year old statistician at the New York Times, has written a remarkable and far-reaching book on our attempts to get to grips with the whimsical world we live in. Silver earned himself quite a reputation in the 2012 election by correctly predicting the results of all 50 states. He also likes betting on baseball games and playing poker. Here is a man who really loves to see the dice roll. His book The Signal and the Noise ranges over disciplines as diverse as economy, politics, sports, weather forecasting, finance and more. The central question is all this is 'the art and science of prediction'. Since making correct predictions is what practical knowledge is all about and what drives progress.
    Silver starts out by analysing prediction failures such as the banking crisis and the frequently mistaking experts on television whose main quality seems to be their lack of recollection.
    He then moves into the natural sciences with topics as weather forecasting (the major success story in this book), earthquakes and spread of infectious diseases. What makes predicting in one discipline different from another?
    Silver then introduces his hero Thomas Bayes who devised a simple method to improve you predictions about the world. It applies to anything from the probability of breast cancer to the chance of being cheated upon when you spot a long blond hair on your boyfriend's jacket. Bayesian logic (a short mathematical formula) may seem to be tailored to our times of big data and the digitation and storage of everything and everybody, but it actually stems from an 18th century statistician and Presbyterian minister who followed the empiricism philosophy of David Hume.
    Bayes' theorem forces you to make a prior estimate of a probability of an event taking place (you bicycle being nicked for example) which may be refined with every following experience. Even if you start out with a wild guess, you end up being less and less wrong about the chances.
    This is an exceptional book. Not only for the scope of subjects, but also for the completely new view on knowledge theory that Silver presents. It's a timely book as well since we've never had so much information at our disposal and most of us are frankly a bit at loss with what to do with it. "We think we want information", Silver writes, "when we really want knowledge. The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth. This is a book about the signal and the noise." (JW)

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  • Interessant, leesbaar, leerzaam

    Boek gekocht op aanraden van een vriend vanwege onze statistische achtergrond. Het is een fijn boek, hoewel ik sommige afkortingen en termen niet zo snel terug kon vinden. Verder leest het prettig door de gestructureerde uitleg van de onderwerpen die worden behandeld (zoals de housing bubble in Amerika) en is het behalve ontspannend om te lezen, ook een leerzaam boek. Ik raad het boek aan aan iedereen die regelmatig in aanraking komt met statistiek (al is het minimaal) of er interesse in heeft.

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april 2013
1e druk
19,9 x 13 x 2,6 cm
Aantal pagina's
544 pagina's


Nate Silver Nate Silver
Nate Silver
Penguin UK



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The Art and Science of Prediction

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