Monthly Archives: December 2016

Book Review – Scorecasting

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influence Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won
by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, 2011

I read this book a few years ago, but I recently re-“read” it on tape on a holiday drive. The content is interesting and the conclusions are cool and worth knowing, but I was struck with how much filler content is included in reading it a second time. You want to yell at the writers, “Just get to the point” sometimes. Also, don’t listen to this on CD, as the reader reads the entirety of the book’s tables, which is frustrating and silly. You’ll skim the tables in the actual book. Overall, a good book to read quickly, especially if you don’t know why there is a home-field advantage in sports.

Amazon Link: Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won

Book Review – The Power Brokers

The Power Brokers: The Struggle to Shape and Control the Electric Power Industry
by Jeremiah D. Lambert, 2015

“The history of the electric power industry in the United States, created by entrepreneurs, is also the history of the exercise of political power.” (Conclusion, pg 259)

I recommend this book for those that are getting started in the energy field and need a bit of a deep dive into the context and history of political influence in electricity generation. Granted, that’s a small subset of the population. But I’m in that subset! So I thought the book was good. It is very specialized, though. It covers 7 “power brokers” in the history of electricity: Sam Insull, David Lilienthal, Donal Hodel and others at Bonneville Power, Paul Joskow, Ken Lay, Amory Lovins, and Jim Rogers. The writing takes some getting used to, but I found myself reading the later chapters at a faster pace.

Amazon Link: The Power Brokers: The Struggle to Shape and Control the Electric Power Industry (MIT Press)

NFL Picks – Week 16 of 2016

Overall Against the Spread: 87-109
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11
Week 14: 8-8
Week 15: 5-9 (1 game not bet, 1 push)

Book Review – End the Fed

End the Fed
by Ron Paul, 2009

Ron Paul spent a large portion of his time in Congress fighting for sound money principles. Our current system of “fiat money” encourages excessive government spending and then inflation to wash away debt. Those who are fiscally responsible in the current era tend to have to bail out the irresponsible. This book was written right after the bailouts of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (it’s a TARP!) and carries some of the fervor of the Occupy Wall Street protests. I do wish we had a more fiscally conservative government, something neither the liberals nor conservatives seem to be offering. This book is a good overview of the economic, moral, and libertarian impacts of our current monetary policy and describes a reasonable alternative to the status quo.

I listened to the CD recording of this book, which was good.

Amazon Link: End The Fed

NFL Picks – Week 15 of 2016

Overall Against the Spread: 82-100
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11
Week 14: 8-8

Book Review – Superforecasting

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner, 2015

superforecasting

Great book describing insights from The Good Judgment Project, which was/is a forecasting tournament sponsored by the intelligence community. Describes how to be a superforecaster and avoid common pitfalls that ensnare “hedgehog” pundits with overconfidence. The ten “commandments” at the end of the book summarize the book well, though I would suggest reading the whole thing:
1. Triage. Focus on questions where your hard work is likely to pay off.
2. Break seemingly intractable problems into tractable sub-problems. Look up Enrico Fermi if you don’t know him.
3. Strike the right balance between inside and outside views.
4. Strike the right balance between under- and overreacting to evidence.
5. Look for the clashing causal forces at work in each problem.
6. Strive to distinguish as many degrees of doubt as the problem permits but no more.
7. Strike the right balance between under- and overconfidence, between prudence and decisiveness.
8. Look for the errors behind your mistakes but beware of rearview-mirror hindsight biases.
9. Bring out the best in others and let others bring out the best in you.
10. Master the error-balancing bicycle. Like all other known forms of expertise, superforecasting is the product of deep, deliberative practice.
(11. Don’t treat commandments as commandments.)

Amazon Link: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

NFL Picks – Week 14 of 2016

Mama said there’d be years like this, but man oh man… It ain’t workin this year.

Overall Against the Spread: 74-92
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9
Week 5: 5-8 (1 push)
Week 6: 7-6 (2 pushes)
Week 7: 3-11 (1 game not bet)
Week 8: 6-7
Week 9: 5-6 (1 game not bet, 1 push)
Week 10: 8-6
Week 11: 7-4 (1 game not bet, 2 pushes)
Week 12: 5-10 (1 push)
Week 13: 4-11