Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Message or Messenger?

From the Washington Post, Is the 2016 GOP problem the message or the messenger?:

Are You a Hedgehog or a Fox?

UPDATE II:  "How do you spot a hedgehog? [Philip Tetlock, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has spent decades studying how people make predictions,] says to listen to their arguments and watch out for 'the experts who say 'moreover' more often than they say 'however'' — i.e., people who double down on their arguments without qualifying them with contrasting information — as well as those who declare things 'impossible' or 'certain.'

You can probably guess that Tetlock's superforecasters are not 'hedgehogs.' Instead, they are the kind of person that Tetlock dubs 'foxes.'

According to Tetlock, foxes are more pragmatic and open-minded, aggregating information from a wide variety of sources. They talk in terms of probability and possibility, rather than certainty, and they tend to use words like 'however,' 'but,' 'although' and 'on the other hand' when speaking.

When it comes to prediction, the foxes outfox the hedgehogs. While the hedgehogs managed to do slightly worse than random chance, the foxes had real foresight. The foxes weren’t just more cautious in their predictions, they were a lot more accurate.

Unlike hedgehogs, foxes also had a desire to keep reviewing their assumptions, updating their estimates, and improving their understanding — a kind of attitude that Tetlock calls 'perpetual beta.' Tetlock says that this approach is the single most important ingredient for learning to make accurate predictions. 'For superforecasters, beliefs are hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be guarded,' Tetlock and Gardner write.

Read the Washington Post, The secrets the world’s top experts use to make really good predictions.

UPDATE: Humble, perceptive and self-reflective leaders seem to outshine their more brash and charismatic counterparts. Read The New York Times, The Humble Hound.

Are you a humble hound?

Don't know what I mean, then read The New York Times, Learning How to Think.

Hint: "The Hedgehog and the Fox" was the title of an essay by Isaiah Berlin about Russian author Leo Tolstoy's theory of history.

So I ask again, are you a hedgehog, or a fox?