Dan Gardner is the New York Times best-selling author of books about psychology and decision-making and a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. More >

Superforecasting - The Art and Science of Prediction

Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week’s meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?

In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary people—including a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancer—who set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. They’ve beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. They’ve even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are “superforecasters.”

In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesn’t require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course. Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future—whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life—and is destined to become a modern classic.

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A New York Times "Editors' Choice"
  • One of the Best Books of 2015 -- The Economist
  • One of the Best Books of 2015 -- Bloomberg
  • One of the Best Books of 2015 -- Amazon
  • One of the Best Books of 2015 -- Hudson Books

What people are saying about Superforecasting:

“Philip Tetlock is the world expert on a vital subject. Superforecasting is the wonderful story of how he and his research team got ordinary people to beat experts in a very serious game. It is also a manual for thinking clearly in an uncertain world. Read it.”

— Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

“The material in Superforecasting is new, and includes a compendium of best practices for prediction…The accuracy that ordinary people regularly attained through their meticulous application did amaze me… [It offers] us all an opportunity to understand and react more intelligently to the confusing world around us.”

— — New York Times

“The best way to know if an idea is right is to see if it predicts the future. But which ideas, which methods, which people have a track record of non-obvious predictions vindicated by the course of events? The answers will surprise you, and they have radical implications for politics, policy, journalism, education, and even epistemology—how we can best gain knowledge about the world. The casual style of Superforecasting belies the profundity of its message.”

— Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature

"I think Philip Tetlock’s 'Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,' co-written with the journalist Dan Gardner, is the most important book on decision making since Daniel Kahneman’s 'Thinking, Fast and Slow'."

— Jason Zweig, Wall Street Journal

"....both rigorous and readable. The lessons are directly relevant to business, finance, government, and politics.”

— Peter Orszag, economist and former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget

"... the techniques and habits of mind set out in this book are a gift to anyone who has to think about what the future might bring. In other words, to everyone."

— The Economist

The Economist

— Cass Sunstein, Felix Frankfurter professor of law, Harvard University, former director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

(Tetlock and Gardner) "...offer a fascinating insight into what we can learn from this elite group of people. They show the methods used by these superforecasters which enable them to outperform even professional intelligence analyst with access to classified data and they offer practical advice on how we can all use these methods for our own benefit whether in business, international affairs, or everyday life."

— Long listed for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2015

"Superforecasting is a very good book. In fact it is essential reading - which I have never said in any of my previous MT reviews."

— Andrew Wileman, Management Today

“Superforecasting is a rare book that will make you smarter and wiser. One of the giants of behavioral science reveals how to improve at predicting the future.”

— Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

"A terrific piece of work that deserves to be widely read... Highly recommended."

— John Rentoul, The Independent (London)

“Superforecasting is the rare book that is both scholarly and engaging. The lessons are scientific, compelling, and enormously practical. Anyone who is in the forecasting business—and that’s all of us—should drop what they are doing and read it.”

— Michael J. Mauboussin, Head of Global Financial Strategies, Credit Suisse

“There isn’t a social scientist in the world I admire more than Phil Tetlock.”

— Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist

“In this accessible and lively book, Tetlock and Gardner recognize the centrality of probabilistic thinking to sound forecasting. Whether you are a policymaker or anyone else who wants to approach decisions with great rigor, Superforecasting will serve as a highly useful guide.”

— Robert E. Rubin, Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

“Socrates had the insight in ‘know thyself,’ Kahneman delivered the science in Thinking, Fast and Slow, now Tetlock has something we can all apply in Superforecasting.”

— Juan-Luis Perez, UBS

“For thousands of years, people have listened to those who foretold the future with confidence and little accountability. In this book, Tetlock and Gardner free us from our foolishness. Full of great stories and simple statistics, Superforecasting gives us a new way of thinking about the complexity of the world, the limitations of our minds, and why some people can consistently out predict a dart-throwing chimp. Tetlock’s research has the potential to revolutionize foreign policy, economic policy, and your own day-to-day decisions.”

— Jonathan Haidt, New York University Stern School of Business, and author of The Righteous Mind

“Philip Tetlock is renowned for demonstrating that most experts are no better than ‘dart-throwing monkeys’ at predicting elections, wars, economic collapses and other events. In his brilliant new book, Tetlock offers a much more hopeful message, based once again on his own ground-breaking research. He shows that certain people can forecast events with accuracy much better than chance—and so, perhaps, can the rest of us, if we emulate the critical thinking of these ‘superforecasters.’ The self-empowerment genre doesn’t get any smarter and more sophisticated than this.”

— John Horgan, Director, Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology

“From the Oracle of Delphi to medieval astrologers to modern overconfident experts, forecasters have been either deluded or fraudulent. For the first time, Superforecasting reveals the secret of making honest, reliable, effective, useful judgments about the future.”

— Aaron Brown, Chief Risk Officer of AQR Capital Management and author of The Poker Face of Wall Street

Where to buy Superforecasting

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