Granted, our methodology was, by author Nate Silver's standards, more "hedgehog" than "fox"--more gut instinct than data driven. Still, we're proud of the entirely verifiable fact that we voted The Signal and the Noise into the top spot on our September 2012 Best of the Month list. As Darryl wrote then, "In today's metrics-saturated world, Silver's book is a timely and readable reminder that statistics are only as good as the people who wield them."
Now that the 2012 election is over, and Silver's taking victory laps from his home turf at the New York Times to MSNBC to the Huffington Post to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the signal's clear that Silver is just that good, and not only at political forecasting. He also looks at the role predictions can play in gambling, sports, and weather. More importantly, as discussed in an exclusive Amazon Q&A, he explains how our human nature is both an asset and an obstacle in interpreting data. "The book, in some ways, is about accepting our flaws, as well as recognizing the things that we're good at."
In honor of The Signal and the Noise ranking at No. 17 on Amazon’s 2012 Best Books of the Year list, let’s dig into the data. Here’s a (mostly) objective look at the numbers guy by the numbers:
(All rankings are accurate as of Nov. 19, 2012.)