I know, I know if you have to read about one more political poll, but wait a new book “The Signal and the Noise” is about the science of prediction which includes polling. The book by former East Lansing High School student Nate Silver is a guide to telling the future and follows how predictions are made in various disciplines such as baseball, poker, weather, stock picking and of course, politics.
Silver made a name for himself and FiveThirtyEight blog when he correctly predicted the outcome of the last presidential election in 49 of the 50 states. It garnered him a Time magazine pick as one of the most influential people in the country.
Silver’s new book has been on the New York Times for several weeks now and frankly when do remember a book on, basically, statistics last on the list? maybe “Freakanomics” counts.
The Times review in its overly typical fashion (I’d like to see Silver analyze the Times’ book reviews for the probability of a good review versus a bad review) once again loves the book; is disappointed about the book; and finally finds a way to say “it could turn out to be one of the more momentous books of the decade.”
That’s one heck of an endorsement. The reviewer did pine for more backstory about Silver himself who ditched a Wall Street job to play poker. Most serious “Fantasy Baseball” fans know Silver as the guy who came up with a totally new way of predicting a player’s performance.
I’m sure we’ll hear more from Nate Silver especially between now and the post election roundup. In the meantime check out his blog here. Today he writes why Obama is the “favorite” in the presidential race.