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Another winner: Nate Silver's 'The Signal and the Noise'

November 07, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg

President Obama was the clear winner Tuesday. And he took one author with him: Nate Silver.

"The Signal and the Noise," Silver's explanation of how he does what he does, has climbed to No. 2 on the Amazon bestseller list. The 544 page book was published in September.

What Silver does, of course, is sort through lots of data to try to find the real story. His fivethirtyeight blog is named for the 538 votes in the Electoral College -- a majority of which is what it takes to get a candidate in the White House. The idea is that no matter what any polls, trends, or undecided voters say, the real answer lies in what happens to the 538.

And in a race that some considered too close to call, Silver called it correctly.

In the book, Silver writes that sometimes humans look to make information meaningful that isn't, while also admitting that humans make essential contributions to interpreting data. Numbers need smart people to crunch then.

Speaking of numbers, the Amazon ranking of "The Signal and the Noise" was No. 15 earlier Wednesday, Galleycat writes. As of this writing it is at No. 2, where it remains behind Jeff Kinney's "The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book Seven)."

This human has no predictions as to whether Kinney can hold on, or if Silver will overtake him.

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