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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly…
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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I think that the main reason why I even started reading this book was because I thought it would be more interesting than it actually was. Not to say that it was terrible...it just wasn't what I thought it would be. Taleb comes off at a little presumptuous sometimes...actually, all the time.

There is a main point to the entire book, and it's the fact that life is unpredictable. He reiterates this same point in different parts of his book, with some examples drier than others. I actually found it to be more interesting the more I read, but some parts were just completely over my head, such as the Gaussian framework, or stuff that dealt with the bell curve. To his credit, he does tell the reader that certain chapters can be skipped over if one doesn't really know or care for some of the hard facts.

Anyway, I'd recommend this book for those that are more interested in statistics, analyzing (political analysts, financial analysts, etc.), philosophers, and more simply because I want to know what your opinion on his writing would be. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
This is the first book of philosophy I have ever actually understood - this after several attempts. This pleased me to no end. The reason I was able to understand is because Taleb lays out his grand vision, then explains it very, very well. I even understood all the bell curve mathematics. The book isn't perfect, however. He could have spent about 100 more pages explaining everything further to perfection, his distaste for the bell curve is not fully parlayed to the reader in proper context, and well, some things ARE predictable (if Black Swans don't happen - a possibility!), but Taleb doesn't get into that discussion too much. Still, a great thinking book and a fine read.
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
The basic premise that we are ruled by black swans, highly improbable things we can't predict, was interesting. However, the author was full of himself and it was VERY repetitive. ( )
  KamGeb | Apr 3, 2015 |
[CEDUTO]. A essere onesto molte cose non le ho capite, altre le ho sorvolate. Di quello che rimane, trovo molti concetti di fondo interessanti e condivisibili; a margine, mi sembra che l'autore sia un poco spocchioso e non mi pare un bravo divulgatore.
Spero che Wikipedia mi aiuti la' dove l'arguzia del filosofo-matematico-trader pregiudica l'efficacia della spiegazione. Mi rimane la curiosità di voler capire meglio il mondo dei frattali - ma gli scritti di Mandelbrot non mi sembra aiutino un profano... ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
This book has changed the way I view the world. ( )
  Egon_Spengler | Oct 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
Since the book was written prior to the current situation, many of the insights will seem prophetic. For instance, “regulators in the banking business are prone to a severe expert problem and they tend to condone reckless but (hidden) risk taking.” Some might think that the book specifically predicted the current market and economic crisis—wrong. The book is about the expectation that it could occur.
added by dtw42 | editBusiness Economics, Gerald L Musgrave (pay site) (Aug 11, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nassim Nicholas Talebprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pietiläinen, KimmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Benoît Mandelbrot, a Greek among Romans
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Before the discovery of Australia, people in the Old World were convinced that all swans were white, an unassailable belief as it seemed completely confirmed by empirical evidence.
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Die beste Strategie besteht also darin, möglichst viel auszuprobieren und möglichst viele Chancen, aus den sich Schwarze Schwäne ergeben könnten, zu ergreifen.
Die narrative Verzerrung ist Ausdruck unserer eingeschränkten Fähigkeit, Reihen von Fakten zu betrachten, ohne eine Erklärung in sie hineinzuweben oder, was dasselbe bedeutet, gewaltsam eine logische Verknüpfung, einen Beziehungspfeil zwischen ihnen herzustellen. Erklärungen binden Fakten zusammen. Sie sorgen dafür, dass wir uns viel leichter an sie erinnern können, dass sie mehr Sinn ergeben. Diese Neigung kann uns aber in die Irre führen, wenn sie unseren Eindruck, dass wir verstehen, verstärkt.
Wir sind soziale Tiere; die Hölle sind andere Menschen.
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Table of Contents from Worldcat:

Umberto Eco's antilibrary, or how we seek validation. The apprenticeship of an empirical skeptic ; Yevgenia's black swan ; The speculator and the prostitute ; One thousand and one days, or how not to be a sucker ; Confirmation shmonfirmation! ; The narrative fallacy ; Living in the antechamber of hope ; Giacomo Casanova's unfailing luck : the problem of silent evidence ; The Ludic fallacy, or the uncertainty of the nerd -- We just can't predict. The scandal of prediction ; How to look for bird poop ; Epistemocracy, a dream ; Appelles the Painter, or what do you do if you cannot predict? -- Those gray swans of Extremistan. From Mediocristan to Extremistan and back ; The bell curve, that great intellectual fraud ; The aesthetics of randomness ; Locke's madmen, or bell curves in the wrong places ; The uncertainty of the phony -- The end. Half and half, or how to get even with the black swan -- Epilogue : Yevgenia's white swans.
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"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. Now, in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know. He offers surprisingly simple tricks for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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