Nate Silver

(Nathaniel Read Silver)

Nate Silver
Nate Silver
  • Born: January 13, 1978
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Statistician, Journalist

78

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2

Citations

17

Concepts

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Videos

Nathaniel Read Silver is an American statistician and writer who analyzes baseball (see sabermetrics) and elections (see psephology). He is the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight and a Special Correspondent for ABC News.

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Journalists should recalibrate themselves to be more skeptical of the consensus of their peers. That’s because a position that seems to have deep backing from the evidence may really just be a reflection from the echo chamber. You should be looking toward how much evidence there is for a particular position as opposed to how many people hold that position: Having 20 independent pieces of evidence that mostly point in the same direction might indeed reflect a powerful consensus, while having 20 like-minded people citing the same warmed-over evidence is much less powerful. Media, Journalism & The Press
Political experts aren’t a very diverse group and tend to place a lot of faith in the opinions of other experts and other members of the political establishment. Once a consensus view is established, it tends to reinforce itself until and unless there’s very compelling evidence for the contrary position. Social media, especially Twitter, can amplify the groupthink further. . . . Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
A lot of journalism wants to have what they call objectivity without them having a commitment to pursuing the truth, but that doesn't work. Objectivity requires belief in and a commitment toward pursuing the truth - having an object outside of our personal point of view. Truth ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
A lot of news is just entertainment masquerading as news.
A lot of things can't be modeled very well.
Actually, one of the better indicators historically of how well the stock market will do is just a Gallup poll, when you ask Americans if you think it's a good time to invest in stocks, except it goes the opposite direction of what you would expect. When the markets going up, it in fact makes it more prone toward decline. Time
All I know is that I have way more stuff that I want to write about than I possibly have time to. Time
Almost everyone's instinct is to be overconfident and read way too much into a hot or cold streak.
Any one game in baseball doesn't tell you that much, just as any one poll doesn't tell you that much.
Basically, books were a luxury item before the printing press.
By playing games you can artificially speed up your learning curve to develop the right kind of thought processes. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Caesar recognized the omens, but he didn't believe they applied to him.
Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Every day, three times per second, we produce the equivalent of the amount of data that the Library of Congress has in its entire print collection, right? But most of it is like cat videos on YouTube or 13-year-olds exchanging text messages about the next Twilight movie.
Every four years in the presidential election, some new precedent is broken.
First of all, I think it's odd that people who cover politics wouldn't have any political views. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I actually buy the paper version of The New York Times maybe once or twice a week.
I don't play fantasy baseball anymore now because it's too much work, and I feel like I have to hold myself up to such a high standard. I'm pretty serious about my fantasy football, though. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I don't think that somebody who is observing or predicting behavior should also be participating in the 'experiment.'
I don't think you should limit what you read.
I guess I don't like the people in politics very much, to be blunt. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I have the same friends and the same bad habits.
I have to make sure that I make good choices and that if I put my name on it, it's a high-quality endeavor and that I have time to be a human being. Time
I have to think about how to not spread myself too thin. It's a really great problem to have.
I love South American food, and I haven't really been down there. I really need a vacation. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I prefer more to kind of show people different things than tell them 'oh, here's what you should believe' and, over time, you can build up a rapport with your audience. Time
I think a lot of journal articles should really be blogs.
I think people feel like there are all these things in our lives that we don't really have control over.
I think punditry serves no purpose.
I think there's space in the market for a half-dozen kind of polling analysts.
I view my role now as providing more of a macro-level skepticism, rather than saying this poll is good or this poll is evil.
I was looking for something like baseball, where there's a lot of data and the competition was pretty low. That's when I discovered politics. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If I had a spreadsheet on my computer, it looked like I was busy.
If there's a major foreign policy event, the President gets on TV, the Congress doesn't.
If you aren't taking a representative sample, you won't get a representative snapshot.
If you have reason to think that yesterday's forecast went wrong, there is no glory in sticking to it.
If you're keeping yourself in the bubble and only looking at your own data or only watching the TV that fits your agenda then it gets boring.
I'm a pro-horserace guy.
I'm not trying to do anything too tricky.
In baseball you have terrific data and you can be a lot more creative with it.
In politics people build whole reputations off of getting one thing right. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It's a little strange to become a kind of symbol of a whole type of analysis.
I've become invested with this symbolic power. It really does transcend what I'm actually doing and what I actually deserve. Power
I've just always been a bit of a dork.
Midterm elections can be dreadfully boring, unfortunately.
On average, people should be more skeptical when they see numbers. They should be more willing to play around with the data themselves.
People attach too much importance to intangibles like heart, desire and clutch hitting.
People don't have a good intuitive sense of how to weigh new information in light of what they already know. They tend to overrate it.
People gravitate toward information that implies a happier outlook for them.
People still don't appreciate how ephemeral success is. Success
Race is still the No. 1 determinant in every election.
Remember, the Congress doesn't get as many opportunities to make an impression with the public.
Success makes you less intimidated by things. Success
The key to making a good forecast is not in limiting yourself to quantitative information.
The problem is that when polls are wrong, they tend to be wrong in the same direction. If they miss in New Hampshire, for instance, they all miss on the same mistake.
The Protestant Reformation had a lot to do with the printing press, where Martin Luther's theses were reproduced about 250,000 times, and so you had widespread dissemination of ideas that hadn't circulated in the mainstream before.
The public is even more pessimistic about the economy than even the most bearish economists are.
The thing that people associate with expertise, authoritativeness, kind of with a capital 'A,' don't correlate very well with who's actually good at making predictions.
There's always the risk that there are unknown unknowns.
To be a very, very minor, eighth-tier celebrity, you realize, 'Hey, celebrities are just like us.'
To the extent that you can find ways where you're making predictions, there's no substitute for testing yourself on real-world situations that you don't know the answer to in advance.
Voters memories will fade some.
Walk rate is probably the area in which a pitcher has the most room to improve, but a rate that high is tough to overcome.
We are living our lives more online and you need to have different ways to capture that.
We must become more comfortable with probability and uncertainty.
We want to get 80%-85% of predictions right, not 100%. Or else we calibrated our estimates in the wrong way.
Well the way we perceive accuracy and what accuracy is statistically are really two different things.
Well, you know, you're not going to have 86 percent of Congress voted out of office.
We're living in a world where Google beats Gallup.
We're not that much smarter than we used to be, even though we have much more information - and that means the real skill now is learning how to pick out the useful information from all this noise. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
When human judgment and big data intersect there are some funny things that happen. Humor
When you get into statistical analysis, you don't really expect to achieve fame. Or to become an Internet meme. Or be parodied by 'The Onion' - or be the subject of a cartoon in 'The New Yorker.' I guess I'm kind of an outlier there.
When you try to predict future E.R.A.'s with past E.R.A.'s, you're making a mistake. Future
Whenever you have dynamic interactions between 300 million people and the American economy acting in really complex ways, that introduces a degree of almost chaos theory to the system, in a literal sense.
You can build a statistical model and that's all well and good, but if you're dealing with a new type of financial instrument, for example, or a new type of situation - then the choices you're making are pretty arbitrary in a lot of respects.
You don't want to influence the same system you are trying to forecast.
You don't want to treat any one person as oracular.
You get steely nerves playing poker.