Nate Silver Quotes

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Nate Silver

Silver at South by Southwest, 2009
Born Nathaniel Read Silver
(1978-01-13) January 13, 1978 (age 38)[1]
East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.[2]
Alma mater University of Chicago
London School of Economics
Occupation Statistician, journalist
Years active 2000–present
Employer ESPN
Known for PECOTA, FiveThirtyEight
Title Editor in Chief, FiveThirtyEight
Website FiveThirtyEight.com

If I had a spreadsheet on my computer, it looked like I was busy.
The public is even more pessimistic about the economy than even the most bearish economists are.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
I'm a pro-horserace guy.
Every four years in the presidential election, some new precedent is broken.
Nate Silver
A lot of things can't be modeled very well.
A lot of the time nothing happens in a day.
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.
Nate Silver
I'm not trying to do anything too tricky.
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.
Nate Silver
I think punditry serves no purpose.
All I know is that I have way more stuff that I want to write about than I possibly have time to.
Nate Silver
Well the way we perceive accuracy and what accuracy is statistically are really two different things.
Nate Silver
I don't think you should limit what you read.
I think people feel like there are all these things in our lives that we don't really have control over.
Nate Silver
Any one game in baseball doesn't tell you that much, just as any one poll doesn't tell you that much.
Nate Silver
A lot of news is just entertainment masquerading as news.
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.
Nate Silver
If you aren't taking a representative sample, you won't get a representative snapshot.
Nate Silver
I have to think about how to not spread myself too thin. It's a really great problem to have.
Nate Silver
Success makes you less intimidated by things.
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.
Nate Silver
I don't think that somebody who is observing or predicting behavior should also be participating in the 'experiment.'
Nate Silver
It's a little strange to become a kind of symbol of a whole type of analysis.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
I've just always been a bit of a dork.
Basically, books were a luxury item before the printing press.
Voters memories will fade some.
Almost everyone's instinct is to be overconfident and read way too much into a hot or cold streak.
Nate Silver
To be a very, very minor, eighth-tier celebrity, you realize, 'Hey, celebrities are just like us.'
Nate Silver
Caesar recognized the omens, but he didn't believe they applied to him.
Nate Silver
You get steely nerves playing poker.
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.
Nate Silver
I guess I don't like the people in politics very much, to be blunt.
Well, you know, you're not going to have 86 percent of Congress voted out of office.
Nate Silver
When you try to predict future E.R.A.'s with past E.R.A.'s, you're making a mistake.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
When human judgment and big data intersect there are some funny things that happen.
Nate Silver
We are living our lives more online and you need to have different ways to capture that.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
You don't want to influence the same system you are trying to forecast.
Nate Silver
Remember, the Congress doesn't get as many opportunities to make an impression with the public.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
There's always the risk that there are unknown unknowns.
First of all, I think it's odd that people who cover politics wouldn't have any political views.
Nate Silver
If there's a major foreign policy event, the President gets on TV, the Congress doesn't.
Nate Silver
I actually buy the paper version of The New York Times maybe once or twice a week.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
We're living in a world where Google beats Gallup.
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.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
I think there's space in the market for a half-dozen kind of polling analysts.
Nate Silver
On average, people should be more skeptical when they see numbers. They should be more willing to play around with the data themselves.
Nate Silver
You don't want to treat any one person as oracular.
People gravitate toward information that implies a happier outlook for them.
Nate Silver
We want to get 80%-85% of predictions right, not 100%. Or else we calibrated our estimates in the wrong way.
Nate Silver
In politics people build whole reputations off of getting one thing right.
I think a lot of journal articles should really be blogs.
Race is still the No. 1 determinant in every election.
By playing games you can artificially speed up your learning curve to develop the right kind of thought processes.
Nate Silver
In baseball you have terrific data and you can be a lot more creative with it.
Nate Silver
Midterm elections can be dreadfully boring, unfortunately.
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.
Nate Silver
I have the same friends and the same bad habits.
The key to making a good forecast is not in limiting yourself to quantitative information.
Nate Silver
If you have reason to think that yesterday's forecast went wrong, there is no glory in sticking to it.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
I love South American food, and I haven't really been down there. I really need a vacation.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver

We must become more comfortable with probability and uncertainty.
I've become invested with this symbolic power. It really does transcend what I'm actually doing and what I actually deserve.
Nate Silver
Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge.
Nate Silver
People still don't appreciate how ephemeral success is.
People attach too much importance to intangibles like heart, desire and clutch hitting.
Nate Silver
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.
Nate Silver
We must become more comfortable with probability and uncertainty.