Book reviews- "Shoe Dog" and "Superforecasting"
Grr. I really need to write blog posts other than book reviews. But until then, here are some notes on two books I read recently:
Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner
Superforecasting is a book about what qualities it takes for a person to be good at forecasting events. These qualities were teased out of a multi-year study in which participants were presented with a precise question about a future event(for example a question could be “Will Donald Trump serve the full term of his presidency?"); the participant has to come up with what she believes to be the probability of the outcome(an example response could be “yes, with 85% probability”). Among participants in this study, some performed much better than others— the book calls this group of people “superforecasters”. What made this group so good at forecasting? That’s what the book is all about.
Besides the mental habits of “superforecasters”, the book also makes the case that forecasting is important— not just for its own sake but because we make decisions based on our forecasts. And that for forecasting to improve we must subject it to some rigor, instead of making vague statements whose accuracy can’t really be assessed even after the forecasted event has/hasn’t taken place.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Shoe Dog is the story about the origins of Nike, written by one of the founders of the company. I enjoy reading these “here’s how we did it”-type books and this one is particularly well-written and fun to read throughout.