The Black Swan

The Black Swan

The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Book - 2010
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Examines the role of the unexpected, discussing why improbable events are not anticipated or understood properly, and how humans rationalize the black swan phenomenon to make it appear less random.
Publisher: New York : Random House Trade Paperbacks, c2010
Edition: 2nd ed., Random trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780812973815
Characteristics: xxxiii, 444 p. : ill. ; 21 cm


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Aug 30, 2019

Nassim elucidates the concept of "outliers," events or ideas that occupy the outer limits of the probability curve (e.g., the rare black swan), and their influence on perception, attitudes, and decisionmaking. Another eye-opening read that led me to question perceptions and concepts.

Aug 26, 2019

I really liked this book but it's tough to comprehend all that I got out of it. To begin with, the author's style of writing is not so comfortable.. I mean it does look like he's writing in a flow that's matching everything on his mind, but that flow doesn't naturally register in me. That might be because I'm neither exposed to the financial world like him nor have I previously even heard of all those long list of great thinkers he references.

Given that, I was completely taken in by his examples to illustrate how science sometimes becomes the religion and how researchers are not always doing something that's significant but are just trying to get their next tenure. It's the sad reality of academia in today's times. This book has a lot of eye opening view of this world and has left me with a profound feeling of ignorance like never before. It confirms a lot of the biases I had about this world and it makes it even harder for me now to make sense out of anything. In short, "I don't know." and if there was any dopamine shot beyond that from this book then it's that "Nobody knows anything". I recommend it to everyone who wants to be humbled by the limits of knowledge.

Jul 24, 2019

What a treat to read. A game changing mindset in looking outside of known risks to unknown risks, and his hate for the gaussian bell curve. Use fractals instead. Intriguing book to say the least.

Oct 14, 2016

Elegant book that underscores the hubris of "experts," the deficiency of herd thinking and the limitations of our ability to predict the future.

Oct 05, 2016

Personally found Nassim Taleb's 'Fooled by Randomness' to be more interesting and easier to read (though the concepts and material covered are quite similar).

Jun 20, 2015

The Black Swan: the Impact of the Highly Improbable --- by --- Nassim Nicholas Taled.
Somehow I was expecting something more interesting, something more accessible, something less dense, something with more substance. I can deal with philosophy (if it’s cut up into bite-sized morsels), I can deal with history. Financial stuff awash with theory and mental lines and graphs, on the other hand, makes my eyes glaze over as though in insulin-shock brought on by an overdose of jelly-filled doughnuts. The financial stuff always gives me the distinct impression the emperor’s wearing nary his skivvies. Swan is a little reminiscent of a dog that goes to lie down but must first go around and around. Except I wonder if Taleb will ever stop going around.
In desperation, I invoked the fifty page rule and decided it would be best to go on to some more pre-masticated form of entertainment.
With my apologies to all the Talebs out there: for sure they already knew they weren’t writing for the unwashed masses.
As for me: I'm going to wash up for supper.

Mar 28, 2015

The hatred this book inspires bewilders me. Taleb mercilessly (and frequently viciously) attacks economists, so I understand why economists hate Taleb and his book. I don't understand why so many other people seem to hate his book. It is dense and it tells its thesis indirectly much of the time, but it is a brilliant book. I suspect its attack upon established paradigms is the cause of the bile spewed at the book. All I can say is to read it for yourself. But be warned, it isn't an easy read, so buckle in.

May 04, 2014

Book could have been about 30 pages. Maybe he had a bet with someone as to how many times he could use the word "Gaussian".

Apr 22, 2014

This book is worth reading notwithstanding the authors acerbic personality coming to the fore in his attempt to provide a "narrative".

curryc Jan 30, 2014

Be warned: This book is not really about the origin, nature, or consequences of highly improbable events, about which you will learn little to nothing by reading it. It is a meandering, self-indulgent ramble through a landscape of truly interesting work that the author makes very little effort to explain. The book is really about one thing and one thing only: the author himself, as self-styled iconoclast. I want my 5 hours back.

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