Book Review – Superforecasting

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner, 2015


Great book describing insights from The Good Judgment Project, which was/is a forecasting tournament sponsored by the intelligence community. Describes how to be a superforecaster and avoid common pitfalls that ensnare “hedgehog” pundits with overconfidence. The ten “commandments” at the end of the book summarize the book well, though I would suggest reading the whole thing:
1. Triage. Focus on questions where your hard work is likely to pay off.
2. Break seemingly intractable problems into tractable sub-problems. Look up Enrico Fermi if you don’t know him.
3. Strike the right balance between inside and outside views.
4. Strike the right balance between under- and overreacting to evidence.
5. Look for the clashing causal forces at work in each problem.
6. Strive to distinguish as many degrees of doubt as the problem permits but no more.
7. Strike the right balance between under- and overconfidence, between prudence and decisiveness.
8. Look for the errors behind your mistakes but beware of rearview-mirror hindsight biases.
9. Bring out the best in others and let others bring out the best in you.
10. Master the error-balancing bicycle. Like all other known forms of expertise, superforecasting is the product of deep, deliberative practice.
(11. Don’t treat commandments as commandments.)

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