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Truth Is Just Perception

Book Review: “The Signal And The Noise, Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t” By Nate Silver (2012, 544 Pages)

Much more signal than noise.

Statistician Silver is the author of FiveThirtyEight.com (part of the New York Times website). He has predicted U.S. elections results since 2008 with amazing accuracy. Following the reelection of Barack Obama, sales of “The Signal and The Noise” skyrocketed by 850% on Amazon.com.

Recently, New York Times editor Jill Abramson explained that she “would love to have Nate continue to be part of the New York Times family, and to expand on what he does. We know he began in sports anyway, so it is not an exclusively political product. I am excited to talk to Nate when he finishes his book tour about ways to expand that kind of reporting.

“The Signal and The Noise” explains how to forecast and make predictions. It covers real-life examples in finance, earthquakes, weather, climate change, terrorist attacks, poker, chess…

The book was sometimes too nerdy for me but it is all in all an excellent popularization of a very complex topic.

My biggest disappointment is that Silver did not elaborate on his political work. But that’s why the book is the perfect complement to FiveThirtyEight.com.

RATING: B.

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