The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we don’t know, now with a new section called “On Robustness and Fragility.”
A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.
Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”
For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb will change the way you look at the world, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.
Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.
The Black Swan is a must read!
This book has changed my thoughts on how a lot of things actually work. I live in the US and am astouned at the insight provided here. Go buy to today. You will not regret it.
Too much philosophy
One word - Horrible. This is nothing but a name dropping stream of consciousness that should have been summed up in half the words and with less philosophy and written to the general public rather than to Danny Kahneman.
Good read for science illiterates
Autobiographical meanderings that total up to one simple idea, life is unpredictable.
As the son of an engineer, I learned early in life that the governing principle of
engineering is called, light-heartedly, "Murphy's Law." Though many corollaries
have been developed over the years, like "the time it takes to complete a project
will expand to the time allotted," the main thesis is that, "anything that can go
wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time." Taleb does make one good
point in a previous book he authored, the soft sciences are not science at all.
Anything that involves humans is unpredictable because we have the ability to
predict, and thus antiicpate and alter the future. Inadvertantly perhaps, he
provides a very simple and logical definition of Free Will.