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Download Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway Audiobook, by Daniel Gardner Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (215 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel Gardner Narrator: Walter Dixon Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781596597785
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In Future Babble, award-winning journalist Dan Gardner presents landmark research debunking the whole expert prediction industry and explores our obsession with the future. In 2008, as the price of oil surged above $140 a barrel, experts said it would soon hit $200; it then plunged to $30. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world’s fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1911, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe—we all know how that turned out. The truth is that 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. Here 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. How good you are at predicting the future doesn’t depend on your education or experience. It depends on how you think: like a fox or like a hedgehog. Foxes know a little about a lot of things. They have doubts. They often sound wishy-washy. And you don’t see them on television much. On the other hand, hedgehogs know a lot about one thing. They are absolutely certain. They are confident. Almost every popular expert you can think of is a hedgehog. And they are experts at explaining away predictions they made that turned out to be wrong. For real insight into what is coming next, you need to consult foxes and think like one, too. Future Babble explains in detail what that means, and how you can tell foxes and hedgehogs apart. In this example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious audio 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 in delivering this reassuring message: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • Future Babble is genuinely arresting…required reading for journalists, politicians, academics and anyone who listens to them.” 

    Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought

  • “Well-researched, well-reasoned, and engagingly written.” 

    John Mueller, author of Overblown 

  • Future Babble will show you how to be a bit smarter than what you usually hear.”

    Philip Tetlock, author of Expert Political Judgement

  • “Like his earlier work…this selection urges (and demonstrates) a calm, rational perspective; a healthy skepticism; and an effort to make peace with life’s uncertainties.” 


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 2/18/2014

    " Thought provoking look at how certain are predictions and those that make them. It's gotten me thinking quite a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darrick | 2/14/2014

    " This book was a bit too anecdotal, it would have better if a few were trimmed out and the book made a bit shorter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Selected Wisdom | 1/30/2014

    " Really enjoyed the topic and the discussion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 1/20/2014

    " This book = The Black Swan x Freakonomics + steroids. I loved the argument set forth in the book and the examples used to prove them, as I make this argument all the time: you can't predict anything, why don't you just quit it? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Augustin Erba | 12/13/2013

    " Long time predictions are usually wrong. And so it will remain. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meredith Stranges | 8/20/2013

    " I enjoyed the discussions on randomness, and why this concept is so difficult for humans to grasp. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Renee | 3/29/2013

    " Great business insight. Looking forward to more books from this author "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 BC | 11/9/2012

    " Good, and quick read. I enjoyed the mix of history, psychology and politics, and I hope to have gleaned some useful habits or practices to apply to my own thinking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samuel Lubell | 6/8/2012

    " Interesting book about the failure of predictions. The media never investigates prior predictions and since the more extreme predictions are the ones that get attention, media predictions are more likely to be wrong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 2/6/2012

    " Learned a great deal from this book. Doubt I ever pick up a "prediction" book again. "

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About the Author

Daniel Gardner is a columnist and senior writer for the Ottawa Citizen. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including Amnesty International’s Media Award and the Michener Award. Gardner is the author of The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain and Future Babble and currently resides in Ottawa, Canada, with his wife and three children.

About the Narrator

Walter Dixon is a broadcast media veteran of more than twenty years’ experience with a background in theater and performing arts and voice work for commercials. After a career in public radio, he is now a full-time narrator with more than fifty audiobooks recorded in genres ranging from religion and politics to children’s stories.