Nate Silver is the wunderkind of American media. On his blog FiveThirtyEight he managed to predict the outcome of the last US presidential election with a precision never seen before. Silver bases his estimation on the works of Thomas Bayes and his „Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances“. Silver’s success with this approach is astonishing and casts a shadow on the work of political pundits and experts. In “Signal and the Noise” he explains how he does that.
Paul Ormerod’s „Why most things fail“ was published in 2005. Before the subprime crisis, but nevertheless it is a crisis book, that deals with information, lack of information and „bounded rationality“ (Stieglitz / Akerlof). The question is the very basic „why do companies fail?“ – a welcome antonym to all sorts of overconfident management literature. And it seems to me it is he last book written before Big Data came to life. Ormerod leaves some barriers to decision-making and predictive analysis – these are exactly the barriers companies – such as Google or Amazon – try to break.