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

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McClelland & Stewart, Sep 27, 2011 - Psychology - 320 pages
16 Reviews
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 have one of the fastest-growing economies in the year 2000; in 2000, the USSR did not exist. In 1911, 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 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.
In this fast-paced, example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious book, journalist Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by UC Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock proved that pundits who are more famous are less accurate -- and the average expert is no more accurate than a flipped coin. 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.

"From the Hardcover edition."

  

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

User Review  - Marco den Ouden - Goodreads

All through history people have been consumed by doom and gloom predictions about the future. Remember the Y2K scare? The media is wont to call on experts for analysis and predictions about the impact ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Barondestructo - Goodreads

Author Dan Gardner looks at our innate desire for order and how it drives us to seek pattern in a chaotic universe. Experts, it turns out, are no more accurate than the flip of a coin, and their ... Read full review

Contents

TWO THE UNPREDICTABLE WORLD
29
THREE IN THE MINDS OF EXPERTS
58
FIVE UNSETTLED BY UNCERTAINTY
118
SIX EVERYONE LOVES A HEDGEHOG
144
SEVEN WHEN PROPHETS FAIL
195
NOTES
269
BIBLIOGRAPHY
287
INDEX
293
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

DAN GARDNER is a prize-winning journalist and author of Risk: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't -- and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger. He is a senior writer and columnist at the "Ottawa Citizen," and a popular public speaker. He holds a law degree and master's in history.

"From the Hardcover edition."

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