“By 1930, naval arms limitation treaties were in effect, the Great Depression was underway, and the defense planning standard said ‘no war for ten years.’ Nine years later World War II had begun.” – Lin Wells
I’m sure we’ve all heard various misattributed sayings about the challenges of making predictions.
I’m a big believer in the uncertainty of future events – be they black swans, outputs of inherently chaotic systems, products of complexity, vagaries of humanity, etc. That’s one reason why my past reading includes books about managing uncertainty (e.g., Obliquity – Why Our Goals are Best Achieved Indirectly), analyzing complex issues to gain decision advantage (e.g., The HEAD Game – High Efficiency Analytic Decision-Making and the Art of Solving Complex Problems Quickly), the role of luck in success (e.g., Success and Luck – Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy), and so on.
Near the end of Superforecasting, there’s a terrific example that really illustrates the futility of trying to perfectly predict the future: a memo sent by Donald Rumsfeld to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, that references the insights of Lin Wells.