Why Expert Predictions Fail and Why We Believe them Anyway
by Dan Gardner
This book plays on the fact that as humans we can’t stop wondering… we find links in anything… we add two and two and get five. History has proven time and time again that it’s always the unexpected that happens – just think in your own life of things that have happened “when you least expected them”. But despite our knowledge that life is full of surprises, we still attempt to predict what will happen in the future. And we still believe the predictions other people (experts and non-experts alike) make. We just can’t help ourselves.
Whether you believe there is a ready-made future set out before you or not, you will understand that the vast majority of predictions we read in the media (from the fact that this was Andy Murray’s year to when house prices will begin to rise again) are just that – predictions – estimates – guesses. It’s all harmless entertainment. Isn’t it?
In Future Babble, Dan Gardner attempts to explain, using a variety of studies (most by Psychologist Philip Tetlock), that we are programmed with a particular set of beliefs that make it look like our predictions are correct more often than they actually are. In other words, we predict things, and then our behaviours makes them so. If we hadn’t predicted them, they probably wouldn’t have happened. Or would they?! This book aims to show why we are desperate to learn about the future and why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently (whether they are right or wrong!).
Future Babble is quick to read and informative. You’ll find this book interesting if you have any interest in psychology or how we think as humans.
See Future Babble on Amazon (currentlhy £5.50 for the paperback).