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Future Babble

Author: Daniel Gardner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101476095
Size: 58.58 MB
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An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history. In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world's fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1908, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe; we all know how that turned out. Face it, experts are about as accurate as dart- throwing monkeys. And yet every day we ask them to predict the future- everything from the weather to the likelihood of a terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, showing why our brains yearn for certainty about the future, why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently, and why it's so easy for us to ignore the trail of outrageously wrong forecasts. In this fast-paced, example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious book, journalist Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by UC Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock proved that the more famous a pundit is, the more likely he is to be right about as often as a stopped watch. Gardner also draws on current research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics to discover something quite reassuring: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near.

Future Babble

Author: Dan Gardner
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 0771035217
Size: 64.18 MB
Format: PDF
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In 2008, as the price of oil surged above $140 a barrel, experts said it would soon hit $200; a few months later it plunged to $30. In 1967, they said the USSR would have one of the fastest-growing economies in the year 2000; in 2000, the USSR did not exist. In 1911, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe; we all know how that turned out. Face it, experts are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys. And yet every day we ask them to predict the future — everything from the weather to the likelihood of a catastrophic terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, showing why our brains yearn for certainty about the future, why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently, and why it’s so easy for us to ignore the trail of outrageously wrong forecasts. In this fast-paced, example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious book, journalist Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by UC Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock proved that pundits who are more famous are less accurate — and the average expert is no more accurate than a flipped coin. Gardner also draws on current research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics to discover something quite reassuring: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near. From the Hardcover edition.

Future Babble

Author: Dan Gardner
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Limited
ISBN: 0771035195
Size: 75.30 MB
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For fans of Blink, Tipping Point, Freakonomics and Gardner's own bestselling Risk. After World War I, experts pronounced that another war of that scale was impossible. In the 1970s, the blockbuster book The Population Bomb predicted famines and catastrophe by the Millenium. Just before last year's global collapse, most pundits were predicting stable, modest growth for the industrialized world. Every day, experts in the media opine on the latest trend or crisis. When they're wrong, as they most often are, we tend to forget because we have already moved on to the next crisis. Intellectually, we know they're wrong, but we listen to them anyway. Why on earth do we continue to do this? It's because we crave certainty, because the unknown is unsettling. In other words, it's comforting. But it's also counterproductive. Since the 1970s, American psychologist Phillip Tetlock has studied thousands of expert predictions and has incontrovertibly shown that experts are about as accurate as "dart-throwing monkeys." He has also shown that their accuracy drops as their exposure and fame increases. This is because the media require one easily digestible soundbite, and many experts are so in love with their one big theory that they can always interpret events to fit. In Future Babble, best-selling author Dan Gardner tackles this subject with his trademark clarity and wit. He examines the latest science and psychology to show how our brains are hard-wired for answers and certainty, and how that plays into the fallacy of expert predictions. He also shows us how we can train our brains to be more accepting of uncertainty, and how that will help us navigate more successfully the complicated world we inhabit. Brilliant, funny, and accessible, Gardner is one of our rising non-fiction stars.

Risk

Author: Dan Gardner
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 1551992108
Size: 13.45 MB
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In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell, Gardner explores a new way of thinking about the decisions we make. We are the safest and healthiest human beings who ever lived, and yet irrational fear is growing, with deadly consequences — such as the 1,595 Americans killed when they made the mistake of switching from planes to cars after September 11. In part, this irrationality is caused by those — politicians, activists, and the media — who promote fear for their own gain. Culture also matters. But a more fundamental cause is human psychology. Working with risk science pioneer Paul Slovic, author Dan Gardner sets out to explain in a compulsively readable fashion just what that statement above means as to how we make decisions and run our lives. We learn that the brain has not one but two systems to analyze risk. One is primitive, unconscious, and intuitive. The other is conscious and rational. The two systems often agree, but occasionally they come to very different conclusions. When that happens, we can find ourselves worrying about what the statistics tell us is a trivial threat — terrorism, child abduction, cancer caused by chemical pollution — or shrugging off serious risks like obesity and smoking. Gladwell told us about “the black box” of our brains; Gardner takes us inside, helping us to understand how to deconstruct the information we’re bombarded with and respond more logically and adaptively to our world. Risk is cutting-edge reading.

Future Babble

Author: Dan Gardner
Publisher: Plume
ISBN: 9780452297579
Size: 10.41 MB
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"Genuinely arresting . . . required reading for journalists, politicians, academics, and anyone who listens to them." -Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works We are awash in predictions. In newspapers, blogs, and books; on radio and television. Every day experts tell us how the economy will perform next year, if housing sales will grow or shrink, and who will win the next election. Predictions are offered about the climate, food, technology, and the world our grandchildren will inhabit. And we can't get enough of it. Drawing on research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics, award-winning journalist Dan Gardner explores our obsession with the future. He shows how famous pundits, "hedgehogs" who stick to one big idea no matter how circumstances change, become expert at explaining away predictions that are wrong while "foxes," who are more equivocal in their judgments, are simply more accurate.

The Hedgehog And The Fox

Author: Isaiah Berlin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400846633
Size: 47.66 MB
Format: PDF
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"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." This ancient Greek aphorism, preserved in a fragment from the poet Archilochus, describes the central thesis of Isaiah Berlin's masterly essay on Leo Tolstoy and the philosophy of history, the subject of the epilogue to War and Peace. Although there have been many interpretations of the adage, Berlin uses it to mark a fundamental distinction between human beings who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things and those who relate everything to a central, all-embracing system. Applied to Tolstoy, the saying illuminates a paradox that helps explain his philosophy of history: Tolstoy was a fox, but believed in being a hedgehog. One of Berlin's most celebrated works, this extraordinary essay offers profound insights about Tolstoy, historical understanding, and human psychology. This new edition features a revised text that supplants all previous versions, English translations of the many passages in foreign languages, a new foreword in which Berlin biographer Michael Ignatieff explains the enduring appeal of Berlin's essay, and a new appendix that provides rich context, including excerpts from reviews and Berlin's letters, as well as a startling new interpretation of Archilochus's epigram.

Risk

Author: Dan Gardner
Publisher: Emblem Editions
ISBN: 9780771036897
Size: 43.71 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 4566
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In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell, Gardner explores a new way of thinking about the decisions we make. We are the safest and healthiest human beings who ever lived, and yet irrational fear is growing, with deadly consequences — such as the 1,595 Americans killed when they made the mistake of switching from planes to cars after September 11. In part, this irrationality is caused by those — politicians, activists, and the media — who promote fear for their own gain. Culture also matters. But a more fundamental cause is human psychology. Working with risk science pioneer Paul Slovic, author Dan Gardner sets out to explain in a compulsively readable fashion just what that statement above means as to how we make decisions and run our lives. We learn that the brain has not one but two systems to analyze risk. One is primitive, unconscious, and intuitive. The other is conscious and rational. The two systems often agree, but occasionally they come to very different conclusions. When that happens, we can find ourselves worrying about what the statistics tell us is a trivial threat — terrorism, child abduction, cancer caused by chemical pollution — or shrugging off serious risks like obesity and smoking. Gladwell told us about “the black box” of our brains; Gardner takes us inside, helping us to understand how to deconstruct the information we’re bombarded with and respond more logically and adaptively to our world. Risk is cutting-edge reading.

20 Per Gallon

Author: Christopher Steiner
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 0446562025
Size: 39.21 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Imagine an everyday world in which the price of gasoline (and oil) continues to go up, and up, and up. Think about the immediate impact that would have on our lives. Of course, everybody already knows how about gasoline has affected our driving habits. People can't wait to junk their gas-guzzling SUVs for a new Prius. But there are more, not-so-obvious changes on the horizon that Chris Steiner tracks brilliantly in this provocative work. Consider the following societal changes: people who own homes in far-off suburbs will soon realize that there's no longer any market for their houses (reason: nobody wants to live too far away because it's too expensive to commute to work). Telecommuting will begin to expand rapidly. Trains will become the mode of national transportation (as it used to be) as the price of flying becomes prohibitive. Families will begin to migrate southward as the price of heating northern homes in the winter is too pricey. Cheap everyday items that are comprised of plastic will go away because of the rising price to produce them (plastic is derived from oil). And this is just the beginning of a huge and overwhelming domino effect that our way of life will undergo in the years to come. Steiner, an engineer by training before turning to journalism, sees how this simple but constant rise in oil and gas prices will totally re-structure our lifestyle. But what may be surprising to readers is that all of these changes may not be negative - but actually will usher in some new and very promising aspects of our society. Steiner will probe how the liberation of technology and innovation, triggered by climbing gas prices, will change our lives. The book may start as an alarmist's exercise.... but don't be misled. The future will be exhilarating.

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper

Author: Robert Bryce
Publisher: Public Affairs
ISBN: 1610392051
Size: 47.93 MB
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Argues against the modern movement to de-industrialize, re-localize and reduce both consumption and development in order to preserve the planet and instead advocates for advancing innovations and future technologies to improve the world with smaller, faster solutions. 35,000 first printing.