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Portrait of a Superforecaster

Perpetual Beta – Broyhill Asset Management (The View From The Blue Ridge), May 26, 2017

“The strongest predictor of rising into the ranks of superforecasters is perpetual beta – the degree to which one is committed to belief updating and self-improvement. It is roughly three times as powerful a predictor as its closest rival, intelligence.” – Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

Philosophic Outlook

  • Cautious: nothing is certain
  • Humble: reality is infinitely complex
  • Nondeterministic: what happens is not meant to be and does not have to happen

Abilities and Thinking Styles

  • Actively open-minded: beliefs and hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be protected
  • Intelligent and knowledgeable with a need for cognition: intellectually curious, enjoy puzzles and mental challenges
  • Reflective: introspective and self-critical
  • Numerate: comfortable with numbers

Methods of Forecasting

  • Pragmatic: not wedded to any idea of agenda
  • Analytical: capable of stepping back from the tip-of-your-nose perspective and considering other views
  • Dragonfly-eyed: value diverse views and synthesize them into their own
  • Probabilistic: judge using many grades of maybe
  • Thoughtful updaters: when facts change, they change their minds
  • Good intuitive psychologists: aware of the value of checking thinking for cognitive and emotional biases

Work Ethic

  • Growth mindset: believe it’s possible to get better
  • Grit: determined to keep at it however long it takes
Image Source: Polly Portfolio
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