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

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Ebury Publishing, 2011 - Economic forecasting - 305 pages
2 Reviews
An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history.
In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world's fastest-growing economy by 2000; 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 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 the more famous a pundit is, the more likely he is 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.

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

User Review  - Nick Tomashot - Goodreads

Great premise -- but somehow Gardner takes an interesting subject and makes it boring. Probably could have been boiled down into an article, rather than padded into an entire book... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

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.

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