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UMD Selects Silver's The Signal and the Noise as First Year Book

November 6, 2013

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the past 20 years, the University of Maryland has stimulated intellectual discussions on a variety of issues among across campus through its First Year Book program. Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Studies selects one book to feature – based on its ability to provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to analyze a topic, issue or experience from a variety of perspectives – from the sciences to the humanities and across diverse historical backgrounds, cultures and ideologies.   

UMD has selected New York Times bestseller The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver for its 2013-14 First Year Book program.The 2013-14 first year book is The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. The book, a New York Times bestseller, focuses on predictions – why some fail and others don't – and what individuals can do to sift through the noise, or excess data and information, to see the signal of what is most likely going to happen. In the book, Silver analyzes a diverse array of topics, from baseball, sports, and poker to weather, the stock market, and politics, in order to demonstrate that prediction is a skill that can be practiced in order to discern the good information from the bad and used to make better decisions in daily life.

Outperforming pundits, political insiders, and campaign strategists, Silver correctly predicted Obama's 2008 win in all but one state. Additionally, he predicted the winners and losers in every Senate race.  Again in the 2012 presidential election, Silver out-predicted the competition by successfully forecasting the presidential outcomes in all 50 states.

The author will appear on campus on November 13 at 4 p.m. at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to speak about this year's First Year Book, The Signal and the Noise. While the book is not required reading for all new students, faculty are encouraged to incorporate the book into their curriculums and a series of courses, lectures, living/learning programs and events will be held throughout the year to maintain the dialogue of this topic.

For the first time, the university will engage UMD alumni in the First Year Book program by hosting an online alumni book club, beginning in early 2014. UMD faculty will discuss their thoughts on the book and pose questions for discussion. For more information, email firstyearbook@umd.edu or visit www.fyb.umd.edu.