BookshelfJacob deGroot-Maggetti

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t – Nate Silver

Thoughts: I enjoyed The Signal and the Noise. While it could have been about half the length—Silver goes into a lot of detail on each of his topics—the writing is clear, engaging and approachable. I found the chapter on climate change predictions particularly perceptive, and I’m curious to know how it would be rewritten now, a decade after the book was published.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering. I read this as an e-book, so page numbers are as they appeared in the app I used, Libby.)

Silver, Nate. 2020 [2012]. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t. Penguin Books.

Preface to the 2020 Edition


1: A Catastrophic Failure of Prediction

2: Are You Smarter Than a Television Pundit

3: All I Care About Is W’s and L’s

4: For Years You’ve Been Telling Us That Rain Is Green

5: Desperately Seeking Signal

6: How to Drown in Three Feet of Water

7: Role Models

8: Less and Less and Less Wrong

9: Rage Against the Machines

10: The Poker Bubble

11: If You Can’t Beat ’Em…

12: A Climate of Healthy Skepticism

13: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You


Posted: Jan 23, 2022. Last updated: Jan 23, 2022.