Revered statistician has decidedly mixed review
Nate Silver, the nation’s most famous statistician, says the 2012 election chronicle “Double Down” has its merits – despite the authors’ having “absolutely no self-awareness.”
At the Paley Center’s International Council Summit on Thursday, Silver was asked what stories he’s been “dying to write” but couldn’t because he’s working on his new FiveThirtyEight blog for ESPN. Silver said he has a “very long, Bill Simmons-esque review” that is “partly complimentary and partly critical” of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book.
Moderator Peter Kafka of AllThingsD said it seemed like the kind of book Silver would hate, because it is driven by narratives rather than numbers.
(Pictured above, from left to right: Silver, ESPN president John Skipper, and Kafka.)
“I think if you look at it as kind of anthropology of what a certain species of insider think — I mean, there’s absolutely no self-awareness in the book,” Silver said. “These guys don’t realize how closed-minded they are. But they do have really great reporting, really great access on what people inside the bubble think. They have no idea they’re in the bubble, right? No idea whatsoever.”
“There are things that can be useful,” he added. “If you’re an intelligent reader you can pull useful strands out of them.”
Kafka asked: “When you say things like, ‘These guys aren’t aware of the bubble, there is no self-awareness,’ and then people say Nate’s ruffling feathers of the traditional political journalists, when you say stuff like that out loud do you [think], ‘I’m throwing bombs and I enjoy doing stuff that,’ or can you literally not stop yourself?”
At that, Silver conceded having a bit of “competitive side.”
“Double Down,” a sequel to “Game Change,” is being made into an HBO film.
The book’s authors don’t seem to have looked outside their bubble long enough to notice that Silver called the 2012 election while blogging for the New York Times: “Double Change” doesn’t mention Silver at all.
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