Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (original 2007; edition 2007)
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007)
Top Five Books of 2014 (507)
Books Read in 2016 (1,459)
» 11 more
Filosofía - Clásicos (189)
infjsarah's wishlist (128)
Animals in the Title (173)
Amusing, anecdotal, insightful, and for the first while, sparkling: the narrative promotes new ways of thinking about how foolish it is to predict anything. Taleb was certainly prescient (it was just prior to the 2008 financial crash): an amazing example of his "Black Swan" metaphor for predicting the highly improbable event, an outlier, an unnoticed negative "what if" aspect, to evaluating probable outcomes. Ultimately, we get the message, and I for one, do agree ~ that good research with appropriate mathematical models to predict a trend, a possible endpoint result, etc., can all be flushed down the loo if a Black Swan appears.
A diificulty with the story is that Taleb's theme repeats throughout most of the book, The inability to predict outliers implies the inability to predict the course of history, which I found tedious. After several side trips in his narrative, reader engagement fell off, even though the author's writing was itself very engaging. Despite the caveats, I do recommend the book quite strongly because in many fields of research, not just the world of finance, an improbability overlooked can ruin an entire hypothesis. Food for thought, indeed.
When first read this was an interesting insight explored extensively in an anecdotal approach that became tedious. Revisit reconfirms this.
'The subtitle of this book ('the impact of the highly improbable') underlines why it is so relevant to the current pandemic despite the fact that it was published in 2007. Written in accessible prose, 'The Black Swan' gives us simple tools for spotting the elephants on the world stage (and in financial markets). MK
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.
Some of his presentation is incendiary in criticizing economics, finance, and many of its most honored practitioners. Because the book is viewed as being partly about Taleb himself and because of the style of the presentation, some react to the author's persona. If you are forewarned and forearmed, it is easier to focus on the ideas in the book. Because the arguments are controversial, it is understandable that he has chosen to have sharp elbows in getting to the front of the stage.
Taleb and his publishers clearly believe the success of Fooled by Randomness is going to come again. But that book had a persuasive sobriety. The same cannot be said for The Black Swan, which despite the great utility of its insights is badly structured and hurriedly written.
"The Black Swan" has appealing cheek and admirable ambition, and contains such wise observations as: “We attribute our successes to our skills, and our failures to external events outside our control.” But the book exhibits shortcomings, the first being lack of structure.
Belongs to Series
Is contained in
Has as a study
Has as a student's study guide
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (16)
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.
No library descriptions found.
Amazon Kindle (0 editions)
Audible (0 editions)
CD Audiobook (0 editions)
Project Gutenberg (0 editions)
Google Books — Loading...
Melvil Decimal System (DDC)003.54 — Information Computing and Information Systems Theory Communication And Control Information Theory
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.
An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.
An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.
As other reviewers have pointed out, much of this thinking has been around for years, in some cases more than a century. Where the author stands out is in putting it into practice, and, of course, having written this book explaining it all.
However, while Taleb naturally disagrees with this evaluation, I and others found him to be somewhat arrogant. I also agree with those who feel that the information could have been presented more compactly--though in the author's defense, he stated that he wanted to take time to develop some narratives around these ideas in the hopes of a more powerful presentation. ( )