Summary And Critique Of the Black Swan

The Black Swan The Impact Of The Highly Improbable

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That is, a set of circumstances got created around them that they took advantage of, and the result was phenomenal success. To be clear, I’m not saying that they didn’t work to develop skills, they didn’t take risks, and they don’t deserve success. I’m saying that the key ingredient, and the one which they had no control over, was luck.

  • The sighting of the first black swan might have been an interesting surprise for a few ornithologists , but that is not where the significance of the story lies.
  • Rowling, there will be thousands of writers who never make that break through.
  • This edition expands its coverage to include the bond market, so that the book now addresses all of the major investment markets.

I’d been looking to read this book for several years. Now I’ve waded through the first third, I’m so disappointed. The writing is overly verbose, seemingly to present as intellectual, while, ironically, comments are frequently anti-intellectual. I only made it this far into the book because just before each of the several times I all but gave up on it, he would present something of actual substance which would provoke thought.

Unfortunately, those gems were too infrequent and too widely spaced apart to save this for me. Fascinating book about the management of uncertainty and the problem of induction in science and daily life.

Read This One

Witty and irreverant, The Black Swan holds the power to change–for the better–the way people think about the world. It is unlike any book ever written, and its groundbreaking arguments are lucidly articulated by narrator David Chandler. The five-book series, “Incerto”, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb has had a profound impact on how I think about the world. There’s some overlap across the books — but you’ll likely find the repetition helpful in retaining the content better.

And, to take a page from Taleb, anyone who doesn’t think so is wrong. I am sure that the failure to give this book five or six stars is due to my own marginal intellect. The author has made it clear that any other explanation would be entirely unpredictable. He’s dismissive, chronically insecure, unstructured and hostile towards his detractors.

For example, if a general won a war, was it because he was a good or lucky? Of course, you’d rather be lucky — particularly if you are at war. Are these genuine pictures or has the artwork been touched up they are truly. I won’t provide any spoilers, but I felt that he was more of a philosopher than a statistician and he showed it in the end.

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program. An excellent take down of experts that rely on statistics. Also an interesting read for anybody who has to deal with so called experts that never seem to get things right. A valuable book for anyone who has an interest in insuring they have an understanding of the limits of the knowledge which they intend to apply.

Overcoming Our Blindness To Black Swans

Otherwise I would say stay away from this as much as possible. Also sorry for the novel I really just hated this book so much. The Black Swan is a stand-alone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes. In other words, Irrational Exuberance is as relevant as ever. Previous editions covered the stock and housing markets – and famously predicted their crashes. This edition expands its coverage to include the bond market, so that the book now addresses all of the major investment markets.

The Black Swan The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Then a crisis occurs, resulting in people being shell-shocked and scared of investing their resources. the problem of silent evidence, or the tricks history uses to hide Black Swans from us. We overestimate the effects of both kinds of future events on our lives. We seem to be in a psychological predicament that makes us do so. This predicament is called “anticipated utility” by Danny Kahneman and “affective forecasting” by Dan Gilbert. The point is not so much that we tend to mispredict our future happiness, but rather that we do not learn recursively from past experiences. In Extremistan, inequalities are such that one single observation can disproportionately impact the aggregate, or the total.

The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact Of The Highly Improbable: With A New Section: “on Robustness And Fragility”

I’m talking about a decision to not fret about those things which aren’t under your control. There is a peace that comes through acceptance that you can’t be prepared for everything. This is about accepting your limitations and knowing that there are some events for which you’ll only have the chance to respond. Theserenity prayeris keen to call us to accept the things we cannot change. Saying I’m hunting black swans is a bit of a misnomer. The positive ones are, in my opinion, almost always an innovation.

The very fact that these events lie beyond our comprehension of what we expected makes them significant. Unfortunately, Taleb fails to capitalize on the elegance of the far-reaching applicability in his theory, instead focusing on academia and finance. The reader may walk away with a sense of irresolute applicability of the black swan phenomenon, but the book’s philosophical examination of the unknown has considerable value. Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. With its revolutionary examination of the impact of highly improbable events, this New York Times bestseller took the world by storm.

Books By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

They were too practical and exceedingly focused for their own safety. This combination of low predictability and large impact makes the Black Swan a great puzzle; but that is not yet the core concern of this book. Add to this phenomenon the fact that we tend to act as if it does not exist! I don’t mean just you, your cousin Joey, and me, but almost all “social scientists” who, for over a century, have operated under the false belief that their tools could measure uncertainty. For the applications of the sciences of uncertainty to real-world problems has had ridiculous effects; I have been privileged to see it in finance and economics.

In fact, he claims, it creates a veneer of certainty to events that are inherently random. Finally, we think we understand uncertainty and risk since we talk about it in terms of probabilities and games of chance. In fact, we like to reduce uncertainty to games of chance, like coin tossing. But, Black Swan uncertainty is not mathematically computable like the probability of flipping a coin to land heads up 5 times in a row. This desire to boil down complexity to known models is what Taleb calls Platonification⁴; using such models from traditional games of chance he calls the Ludic fallacy. The other books in the series areFooled by Randomness, Antifragile, Skin in the Game,andThe Bed of Procrustes.

He adds little bits of information in parentheses, between dashes, and then tacks some on with footnotes, all in some bizarre attempt to sound funny or cute or intelligent, but he really just sounds like a jerk. For a guy writing a book that claims “what we don’t know is more important that we do know,” he really wants the reader to know that he sure knows a whole lot. He also tries to be really conversational and funny, but he isn’t funny, and he keeps coming up with examples to illustrate and re-illustrate his points. For better or worse, though, he does have a good point – black swans are out there and can change everything we know in instant, and some people refuse to acknowledge or let others know about these potential swans. It would be difficult for me to overstate the importance of the black swan problem in modern life and the degree to which we are, as societies, unaware of its impact. However, anybody with half a background in statistics, chaos theory or the philosophy of science will have encountered most of the concepts in this book before and will have cogitated at length over them.

Subsequently, we examine these events in hindsight and rationalize them with prescriptive remedies. Though doing so is a human tendency, such a retrospective analysis ignores the fact that these events transcend normal expectations and, therefore, are innately unpredictable. But by acknowledging the potential and being prepared, the impact of such events can be minimized. Taking the above example of car travel, if you recognize that there are inherent risks to car travel you can take precautions, like wearing a seat belt, and minimize the effect of an accident. If your workplace included heights, wearing fall protection would minimize the result of a slip or fall.

The central idea is good, but the execution oh-so-isn’t. But “Black Swan” events do occur, they are of course unpredictable, and they can have massive effects. Some sorts of unpredictable events are not Black Swan events because they are events we know about, and they are not really unexpected – only the timing is in doubt.

#10 The Order Of Time

Indeed, some of its most successful applications are in areas like actuarial science, crime statistics, and so on. So defined, he proceeds to argue that these events punctuate history, indeed are the key movers of history, yet are improperly understood and minimized or rationalized. ThriftBooks sells millions of used books at the lowest everyday prices. We personally assess every book’s quality and offer rare, out-of-print treasures. We deliver the joy of reading in 100% recyclable packaging with free standard shipping on US orders over $10. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to problems of uncertainty, probability, and knowledge. He spent nearly two decades as a businessman and quantitative trader before becoming a full-time philosophical essayist and academic researcher in 2006.

The Black Swan The Impact of the Highly Improbable

The AIChE online library includes articles, journals, books, blog posts, and more on a variety of topics. The man had reached the Stoic self-sufficiency, the robustness to adverse events, called apatheia in Stoic jargon. In other words, nothing that might be taken from him did he consider to be a good. Although unpredictable large deviations are rare, they cannot be dismissed as outliers because, cumulatively, their impact is so dramatic. We cannot teach people to withhold judgment; judgements are embedded in the way we view objects.

We can’t prevent the unexpected, but we can at least turn the black swans into grey swans. I do not have a Ph.D. in my field because I feel that statisticians with Ph.D.’s are devoid of practicality and usefulness to the real world. I work at a factory where I assist engineers in better understanding how processes work and making things better. I generally feel that I make a worthwhile contribution to the world.

For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. 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. 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. This is the second work by Taleb on probability, randomness, and the repercussions of our inability to predict.

The publishing industry is littered with these people, it would be simple to use a real person. But not only does he make her up but he gives several pages to her biography, invents fake friends and THEIR biographies and then comes back to her AGAIN, all with no real relevance. These fictional characters could’ve been cut out entirely or replaced with real people and not affected the book at all. They are simply another one of his petty self-indulgences.

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The other dimension is self, again with known and unknown. So things that are known to others but not you are a blind spot. However, more interesting in this context, is that there is a spot where neither you nor others know about something.

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