Michael Gotthardt

What are you reading, Mr. Gotthardt?

Michael Gotthardt studies how the heart adapts in health and disease to develop novel therapies. He shares a comic book, “Asterix in Switzerland,” with his children. But his main recommendation is a book on the art and science of prediction that he enjoys as an audiobook on his bike-ride to work.

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
Charles Darwin

The authors of “Superforecasting, the Art and Science of Prediction”, would not only challenge the attribution of the quote, but also the underlying sentiment and the implications. In their excellent work, Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner illustrate that, armed with the proper skills and strategies, it is possible to predict the 'contents of future boxes' with remarkable accuracy, converting the element of surprise into an advantage for strategic planning.

This book transcends its utility beyond the domains of economists or policymakers. It speaks to a broad audience, including scientists, data analysts, research administrators, and indeed, anyone whose work involves interpreting data to forecast outcomes. It's a treatise on the sophisticated art of prognostication, substantiated by rigorous research and tangible real-world examples.

Tetlock and Gardner guide you through the traits, habits, and practices of a select group of “superforecasters,” who can anticipate the future with astonishing accuracy. Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner shed light on typical forecasting errors and offer practical tips on how to avoid them. More importantly, they offer a framework for structured, systematic thinking about making predictions. I would suggest it to anyone who wishes to navigate through data-driven decision-making with greater confidence – such as estimating the risk of listening to audiobooks while riding your bike.

In a world where the next scientific breakthrough, investment opportunity, geopolitical crisis, or any other data-driven revelation might be just around the corner, adopting the tools of a superforecaster could mean the difference between being prepared or utterly surprised. So, while Darwin might have never said it – in forecasting, as in life, preparation meets opportunity. And “Superforecasting” could equip you with the preparation you need to deal with all those chocolates coming your way…

Philip E. Tetlock, Dan Gardner: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction. Crown Publishing, 2015.