The Signal and the Noise

The Signal and the Noise

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



Nate Silver largely contributed to prediction practices through his system capable of accurately predicting baseball matches. He also predicted the 2008 poll and, after which, became a renowned figure in the world of blogging. Presently, he is now popular with a reputable name in the field of political forecasting after he nearly predicted the outcome of the 2012 election. Gathering inspiration from all of his achievements, he ventured into a more intensive analysis of the world of prediction. 

With a deep focus on revealing the most accurate prediction, he examined methodologies on how to arrive at the most viable signals from a crowd of random data. Our finite sense of probability and accuracy made it more difficult to arrive at a higher truth, and oftentimes, predictions inflict more damage than good to society. The culprit behind this is the illogical practice and overconfidence that both professionals and laypeople fall into. However, if we give up these irrational faculties, clearer and more precise prediction can be expected. More commonly known as the “prediction paradox,” the theory proposes that the more grounded and reality-bound we are in making predictions, the more favorable the outcomes would be. 

With the core intention of finding the truth and such from random information, the author closely studied popular forecasters in several fields taking interests to people who predict hurricanes, games, casinos, and stock markets. Explained from cover to cover are selected forecasters’ methodologies, strategies, and principles. Utilizing the psychological approach, the author identified the commonality that these forecasters share, all while proposing that this common behavior collectively practiced is crucial to precisely predict outcomes.

About the Author

Nate Silver established the site and is currently spearheading the operations and publication as the editor-in-chief of the said blog. 

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition


  • Chapter 1: A Catastrophic Failure of Prediction
  • Chapter 2: Are You Smarter Than a Television Pundit
  • Chapter 3: All I Care About Is W’s and I’s
  • Chapter 4: For Years You’ve Been Telling Us That Rain Is Green
  • Chapter 5: Desperately Seeking Signal
  • Chapter 6: How to Drown in Three Feet of water
  • Chapter 7: Role Models
  • Chapter 8: Less and Less and Less Wrong
  • Chapter 9: Rage Against the Machines
  • Chapter 10: The Poker Bubble
  • Chapter 11: If You Can’t Beat’Em
  • Chapter 12: A Climate of Healthy Skepticism
  • Chapter 13: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You