The best books to get an insight into forecasting

Why am I passionate about this?

Accurate and precise forecasting is essential for successful planning and policy from economics to epidemiology. We have been keen to understand why so many forecasts turn out to be highly inaccurate since making dreadful forecasts ourselves, and advising UK government agencies (Treasury, Parliament, Bank of England) during turbulent periods. As simple extrapolation often beats model-based forecasting, we have been developing improved methods that draw on the best aspects of both, and have published more than 60 articles and 6 books attracting more than 6000 citations by other scholars. Our recommended books cover a wide range of forecasting methods—suggesting there is no optimal way to look into the future.

I wrote...

Forecasting: An Essential Introduction

By David F. Hendry, Jennifer Castle, Michael Clements

Book cover of Forecasting: An Essential Introduction

What is my book about?

Why do forecasters get it wrong so often? This book explores forecasting pitfalls drawing on everyday activities, such as a motorist planning when she needs to set off on her journey to arrive on time. The book requires no maths or technical knowledge, but richly rewards the inquisitive reader with many deep and penetrating insights.      

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast

David F. Hendry Why did I love this book?

A wonderful read on how weather forecasting has improved so dramatically since Robert Fitzroy’s initial efforts in 1859. The amazing developments in mathematical modelling of the climate and advances in super-computers are excitedly and clearly described, starting from Blum wondering how one week ahead it was possible to forecast that Hurricane Sandy would strike New York.

By Andrew Blum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Weather Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Revelatory ... convey[s] the technical brilliance and political significance of an achievement that hides in plain sight'

From satellites circling the Earth, to weather stations far out in the ocean, through some of the most ingenious minds and advanced algorithms at work today - In this gripping investigation, Andrew Blum takes us on a global journey. Our destination: the simulated models weather scientists have constructed of our planet, which spin faster than time, turning chaos into prediction, offering glimpses of our future with eerie precision.

This collaborative invention spans the Earth and relies on continuous co-operation between all nations…

Book cover of Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's First Economic Forecasters

David F. Hendry Why did I love this book?

This is a readable tale of the rise of economic forecasters in the USA during the boom years of the 1920s, and their demise after failing to forecast the `Great Crash of 1929’ and ensuing Great Depression. Roger Babson did forewarn of a crash, but also failed after wrongly repeatedly forecasting an imminent recovery in the early 1930s. It holds many relevant lessons for our turbulent times, emphasizing that the future is always highly uncertain.

By Walter Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fortune Tellers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they…

Book cover of Forewarned: A Sceptic's Guide to Prediction

David F. Hendry Why did I love this book?

When can we trust a forecast? Given how often forecasts end up being very wide of the mark, a degree of scepticism might well be warranted. Paul Goodwin provides an entertaining account of forecasting, arguing that intuition may serve us well in some settings, but that computer-based analysis of big data might be expected to prevail in others.        

By Paul Goodwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forewarned as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether it's an unforeseen financial crash, a shock election result or a washout summer that threatens to ruin a holiday in the sun, forecasts are part and parcel of our everyday lives. We rely wholeheartedly on them, and become outraged when things don't go exactly to plan.

But should we really put so much trust in predictions? Perhaps gut instincts can trump years of methodically compiled expert knowledge? And when exactly is a forecast not a forecast? Forewarned will answer all of these intriguing questions, and many more.

Packed with fun anecdotes and startling facts, Forewarned is a myth-busting guide…

Book cover of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--but Some Don't

David F. Hendry Why did I love this book?

If you fancy yourself an expert in many fields but want to view those through the lens of statistics, this book is for you. From banking to baseball via climate change and poker, this book gives an insight into predictions and how they can go wrong. While Silver is rather dismissive of the frequentist approach in favour of Bayesian predictions, there is still much to admire in this book. It is a well-written, accessible, light read by a master of forecasting. 

By Nate Silver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Signal and the Noise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"One of the more momentous books of the decade." —The New York Times Book Review

Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty. He solidified his standing as the nation's foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the 2012 election. Silver is the founder and editor in chief of the website FiveThirtyEight. 
Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction,…

Book cover of Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

David F. Hendry Why did I love this book?

This is a book that brings forecasters down to earth with a bang – we are not all super-forecasters! There is no magic involved in forecasting – seeing into the future is impossible. But Tetlock and Gardner show that good decision-making should be based on a set of guidelines that can be adapted to any situation. The writing is slick, given one of the authors is a science journalist, and it provides salutary reading for any would be practical forecaster. 

By Philip E. Tetlock, Dan Gardner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Superforecasting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestseller

'A manual for thinking clearly in an uncertain world. Read it.' Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow
What if we could improve our ability to predict the future?

Everything we do involves forecasts about how the future will unfold. Whether buying a new house or changing job, designing a new product or getting married, our decisions are governed by implicit predictions of how things are likely to turn out. The problem is, we're not very good at it.

In a landmark, twenty-year study, Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed that the average expert was only…

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Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

Book cover of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

Antonieta Contreras Author Of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

As a trauma therapist and dedicated researcher, I love uncovering valuable insights within lesser-known books. There are hidden gems, free from the pressure of commercial success, crafted by authors deeply committed to research, understanding, and the art of writing itself. Their dedication resonates with me, as I believe in the profound value of information and the power of critical thinking. Through my own book, Traumatization and Its Aftermath, I aim to emphasize that psychological concepts often lose their depth in translation and my mission is spreading awareness and fostering a deeper understanding of trauma and its intricate facets. With that idea in mind, I chose these five titles. 

Antonieta's book list on uncovering the human experience and exploring the depths of trauma

What is my book about?

A fresh take on the difference between trauma and hardship in order to help accurately spot the difference and avoid over-generalizations.

The book integrates the latest findings in brain science, child development, psycho-social context, theory, and clinical experiences to make the case that trauma is much more than a cluster of symptoms to be tamed, but instead best understood as development gone off course, away from growth and towards (only) survival.

This book prompts a profound shift in perception, inviting to view trauma as an intricate and diverse experience, a point of view that ultimately leads to sharper treatment and, hopefully, more healing. It encourages a transition from asking, "What happened to you?" to the deeper question, "What is your relationship with what happened to you?"

Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

What is this book about?

The book is comprehensive, bold, and practical-a much-needed resource for the assessment and treatment of trauma. Instead of the traditional focus on the overall importance of healing, Traumatization and its Aftermath decodes why some people don't heal as easily as others, analyzes the various failures of diagnosis, and explains how to make therapeutic interventions truly effective.

This book offers a systemic deep dive into traumatization that clarifies myths and misinformation about the entire spectrum of trauma and provides both clinicians and non-clinicians with the right level of validation, preventive measures, conceptualization methodology, assessment tools, and healing facts that have not…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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