A reading club with a view to the future

521 Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner: Superforecasting

“Superforecasting” explores the art and science of accurate predictions, revealing the strategies and mindset of individuals who excel in forecasting future events.



In "Superforecasting," Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner delve into the fascinating world of forecasting and explore why some people are remarkably accurate at predicting future events while others consistently fail. Drawing on the findings of the Good Judgment Project, a multi-year research effort that sought to identify individuals with superior forecasting abilities, the authors uncover the key traits and techniques that distinguish "superforecasters." These individuals possess a unique combination of critical thinking skills, openness to new information, and a willingness to constantly update their beliefs. The book reveals the methods and mindset employed by superforecasters to achieve their remarkable track record of accurate predictions, and provides practical tips for improving forecasting abilities. With compelling examples and thought-provoking insights, "Superforecasting" challenges conventional wisdom about forecasting and offers valuable lessons for decision-making in various fields, from politics and economics to personal choices.


  1. Title: "Superforecasting" 
  2. Author: Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  3. Publishing Year: 2015
  4. Publisher: Crown Publishers
  5. Length in Hours: 9 hrs and 45 mins

5 main ideas

  1. The Power of Aggregating Predictions: Demonstrates the effectiveness of combining individual forecasts to generate more accurate predictions, highlighting the benefits of diverse perspectives and collective intelligence.
  2. The Art of Calibration: Explores the concept of calibration and its role in assessing the reliability of forecasts, emphasizing the importance of assigning accurate probabilities to predictions.
  3. The Value of Continuous Updating: Shows how superforecasters constantly update their beliefs based on new information, avoiding rigid thinking and remaining adaptable in the face of uncertainty.
  4. The Role of Feedback and Feedback Loops: Discusses the significance of feedback in improving forecasting skills, and the importance of analyzing and learning from past predictions to refine future forecasts.
  5. The Benefits of Mental Models and Teamwork: Examines how superforecasters use a range of mental models and collaborate effectively in teams, leveraging diverse perspectives to enhance their forecasting abilities.

5 funny quotes

  1. "In short, there was little evidence that political experts were expert in politics." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  2. "Despite the vast differences between the sports world and the intelligence community, forecasting in both is difficult, and getting better at it requires similar steps." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  3. "Superforecasters are not superhuman. They put their shoes on one at a time, and, just like the rest of us, they tend to break wind at socially awkward moments." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  4. "Forecasting is like driving a car blindfolded and following directions given by a person looking out the back window." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  5. "Success in forecasting requires humility about the limits of what is knowable, as well as a constant willingness to update and refine one's beliefs." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The power of true expertise is not the staggering brilliance or encyclopedic knowledge it enables, but the fact that it knows its limitations." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  2. "Superforecasters think in shades of probability, balancing uncertainty and doubt with the need to make judgments and take action." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  3. "The best forecasters view their own beliefs as hypotheses in need of testing." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  4. "Superforecasters constantly seek out diverse perspectives and actively challenge their own biases." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
  5. "Good forecasting requires striking a delicate balance between underreacting and overreacting to new evidence." - Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing Overconfidence and Underconfidence: The challenge of finding the right level of confidence in forecasts without succumbing to overconfidence bias or excessive caution.
  2. Individual Expertise vs. Collective Intelligence: Evaluating the trade-offs between relying on individual experts and harnessing the collective wisdom of diverse groups in forecasting.
  3. Embracing Complexity vs. Simplification: Navigating the tension between embracing the complexity of forecasting problems and the need to simplify them for practical decision-making.
  4. Short-term vs. Long-term Forecasting: Considering the difficulties and implications of forecasting events in the short term versus long-term trends and outcomes.
  5. Ethics and Accountability in Forecasting: Examining the responsibilities of forecasters in providing accurate and ethical predictions, particularly in fields with significant social, economic, or political impact.

5 examples

  1. Warren Buffett: The book discusses Warren Buffett's impressive track record in investment forecasting and explores the strategies that have contributed to his success.
  2. Google: The Good Judgment Project, the research initiative that forms the basis of the book, received support from Google in its efforts to improve forecasting accuracy.
  3. CIA: The authors examine the challenges faced by intelligence agencies, including the CIA, in making accurate predictions and highlight the potential for improving forecasting methods.
  4. US Presidential Elections: The book explores the accuracy of forecasts made for US presidential elections and analyzes the factors that influence their success or failure.
  5. Apple: The authors discuss the role of technology and prediction markets, including internal forecasting practices at companies like Apple, in generating more accurate predictions.

Referenced books

  1. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman
  2. "The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't" by Nate Silver
  3. "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  4. "Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  5. "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki

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"Forecasting is like driving a car blindfolded and following directions given by a person looking out the back window."

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