‘Well-researched, well-reasoned, and engagingly written. I’m not making any predictions, but we can only hope that this brilliant book will shock the human race, and particularly the chattering expert class, into a condition of humility about proclamations about the future.’John Mueller, Author of Overblown and Political Scientist, Ohio State University
For fans of Blink, The Tipping Point, and Freakonomics, here is a brilliant, funny, and accessible exploration of our flawed quest for certainty.
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 world’s 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.
Let’s face it: experts are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys. And yet, every day, we ask them to predict everything from the weather to the likelihood of a terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, demonstrating 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, bestselling author Dan Gardner shows how 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 behavioural economics to discover something quite reassuring: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near.
‘As Yogi Berra observed, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” In this brilliant and engaging book, Dan Gardner shows us how tough forecasting really is, and how easy it is to be convinced otherwise by a confident expert with a good story. This is must reading for anyone who cares about the future.’Paul Slovic, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon
‘If you are paying a lot of money for forecasting services — be they crystal ball gazers or math modelers or something in between — put your orders on hold until you have had a chance to read this book — a rare mix of superb scholarship and zesty prose. You may want to cancel, or at least re-negotiate the price. For the rest of us who are just addicted to what experts are telling us everyday in every kind of media about what the future holds, Future Babble will show you how to be a bit smarter than what you usually hear.’Philip Tetlock, Author of Expert Political Judgement and Mitchell Professor of Organizational Behavior, Hass School of Business, University of California
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‘A masterful dissection of teleological fallacies…and also a freaking blast.’Doug Saunders, Globe and Mail