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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly…

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (edition 2008)

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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5,517131788 (3.72)1 / 87
Title:The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Authors:Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Info:Penguin (2008), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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English (118)  Spanish (3)  Italian (3)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  German (1)  Czech (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (131)
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This was my food for thought listening while I walked my dog and looked at nature. I'm strongly considering going back to school and becoming a botanist or mycologist and have been bracing myself for another round of struggles with my strong intuitive mistrust of statistics and experimental design (this I'm contemplating would not be my first professional science rodeo) and "the Gaussian"/Platonist reliance on simplification and organization. Taleb gave eloquent voice and rigor to my nagging doubts, which I'm not often able to articulate when confronted by, say, a bank of academic authority figures. I think I'm going to wind up cherishing this book almost like a talisman against the pressure I'm anticipating 8) ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
What you don't know is far more relevant than what you do know. The books you haven't read yet are more valuable than the ones you have read.

What we do know allows us to speculate and create forecasts about the future. What we don't know—the black swan—renders our patterns meaningless.

This truth comes painfully alive in Taleb's graph of a turkey's life. Every day the turkey receives food from the farmer and grows in size. Extrapolating from what the turkey knows suggests a rosy future for the bird. Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey's black swan.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a unique author. He is bluntly irreverent, with the sort of disdain for common opinion only Žižek could match! This book is equal parts scientific analysis on logical fallacies and philosophical reflection on the role of randomness in life. Taleb's prose is at the same time dense and page-turning.

The Black Swan will help you live well in a life where highly improbable events happen. ( )
  StephenBarkley | May 12, 2016 |
Excellent discussion of uncertain risks and the default to focus on what we know rather than what we don't. ( )
  mdubois | Mar 12, 2016 |
A very interesting book. Don't quite know how to review it as I am still digesting it's import. The author seems to have committed to words spasms and bouts of flashbacks gleaned from general observations. The last few pages are quite interesting and would mirror the life anyone trying to lead a practical and well grounded life. A practical doer who is always humble and questioning of his own knowledge while always trying to seek and learn from all sources possible.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
Mr Taleb defines a Black Swan as an event that is unexpected, has an extreme impact and is made to seem predictable by explanations exposed afterwards. The September 11th 2001 attacks and the rise of the internet are given as examples of outliers. I liked that unknown uncertainties are put in a perspective type. This really makes you wonder what the beliefs we currently have that will totally upended be a new discovery that no one predicated. The book doesn't give predictions, but gives a new perspective in estimating uncertainty. He suggests concentrating on the consequences of Black Swans, which can be known, rather than on the probability that they will occur. ( )
  hayward55444 | Jan 24, 2016 |
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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)

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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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