Future Babble

Future Babble : Why Expert Predictions Fail and Why We Believe Them Anyway

3.84 (533 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In 2008, as the price of oil surged above $140 a barrel, experts said it would soon hit $200; a few months later it plunged to $30. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world's fastest-growing economy 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 the future 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 funny book, Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by professor Philip Tetlock proved that the more famous a pundit is, the more likely they are 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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 134 x 214 x 24mm | 340.19g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0753522365
  • 9780753522363
  • 109,183

Review quote

"Future Babble is genuinely arresting...required reading for journalists, politicians, academics and anyone who listens to them." Steven Pinker "In this brilliant and engaging book, Dan Gardner shows us how tough forecasting really is, and how easy it is to be convinced otherwise by a confident expert with a good story. This is must reading for anyone who cares about the future." Paul Slovic, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon "Well-researched, well-reasoned, and engagingly written." John Mueller, author of Overblown and Political Scientist, Ohio State University "A rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose." Philip Tetlock, author of Expert Political Judgement and Mitchell Professor of Organizational Behavior, Hass School of Business, University of California "It is a tour de force, absolutely outstanding" Matt Ridleyshow more

About Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner is the bestselling author of Risk as well as a columnist and senior writer for the Ottawa Citizen. Trained in history and law, Gardner worked in politics as a senior policy adviser before turning to journalism. His writing has received numerous awards, including the National Newspaper Award and Amnesty International's Media Award. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children.show more

Review Text

"It is a tour de force, absolutely outstanding"show more

Back cover copy

'Gardner displays the best virtues of his profession: compelling storytelling backed up by hard facts gleaned from specialist research' Guardian In 2007, experts said it would be smooth sailing in 2008; then came the global financial hurricane. In 2008, as oil surged above $140 a barrel, experts said it would soon hit $200; a few months later, it plunged to $30. This is how it always goes. In the 1960s, experts said the Soviet economy would be bigger than the American economy by 1997; in 1997, the Soviet Union did not exist. In 1911, experts declared there would be no more major wars; we all know how that turned out. Let's 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 catastrophic 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.show more

Rating details

533 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 25% (133)
4 42% (225)
3 26% (138)
2 6% (32)
1 1% (5)
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