Friday, September 28, 2012

Celebrity Friday: Nate Silver's Book On Forecasting

Nate Silver is well-known for his use of mathematics and statistics to make predictions and forecast events, primarily in politics and in sports. He is only 35 years old now but he has a popular blog which was bought and incorporated into the New York Times following his rise to prominence fueled by his accurate predictions in the 2008 presidential race. In 2009 he was named by Time magazine as one of the Top 100 most influential people in the world. He also apparently spends a lot of his time making predictions about baseball, using a system similar to the one presented in the popular movie Moneyball.

But his latest claim to fame (besides being today's Celebrity Friday) is his new book, which is titled The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail But Some Don't. The book is getting pretty decent reviews, such as this one from Professor Roger Pielke, a University of Colorado environmental studies professor:
Silver’s book is at its best when he writes about the things he knows best. That is to say, when he is writing about sports, political predictions and poker, Silver’s book is original and insightful. However, when he writes about weather, climate, earthquakes, the stock market and terrorism, the book doesn’t quite reach this high standard, and sometimes the discussion of these complex topics seems a bit cursory or hurried, which is decidedly contrary to Silver’s approach to analysis for which he has become well known.
I'm just happy to see a popular book which discusses mathematics without fear.

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