Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Book
Random House | 2007 | ISBN: 1400063515 | 336 pages | siPDF | 6.8 MB
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.
Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications The Black Swan will change the way you look at the 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. The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.
Bestselling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb continues his exploration of randomness in his fascinating new book, The Black Swan, in which he examines the influence of highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact. Engaging and enlightening, The Black Swan is a book that may change the way you think about the world, a book that Chris Anderson calls, "a delightful romp through history, economics, and the frailties of human nature."
In business and government, major money is spent on prediction. Uselessly, according to Taleb, who administers a severe thrashing to MBA- and Nobel Prize-credentialed experts who make their living from economic forecasting. A financial trader and current rebel with a cause, Taleb is mathematically oriented and alludes to statistical concepts that underlie models of prediction, while his expressive energy is expended on roller-coaster passages, bordering on gleeful diatribes, on why experts are wrong. They neglect Taleb's metaphor of "the black swan," whose discovery invalidated the theory that all swans are white. Taleb rides this manifestation of the unpredicted event into a range of phenomena, such as why a book becomes a best-seller or how an entrepreneur becomes a billionaire, taking pit stops with philosophers who have addressed the meaning of the unexpected and confounding. Taleb projects a strong presence here that will tempt outside-the-box thinkers into giving him a look.
Part One: Umberto Eco's Antilibrary, Or How We Seek Validation
1 The Apprenticeship of an Empirical Skeptic
2 Yevgenia's Black Swan
3 The Speculator and the Prostitute
4 One Thousand and One Days, or How Not to Be a Sucker
5 Confirmation Shmonfirmation!
6 The Narrative Fallacy
7 Living in the Antechamber of Hope
8 Giacomo Casanova's Unfailing Luck: The Problem of Silent Evidence
9 The Ludic Fallacy, or The Uncertainty of the Nerd
Part Two: We Just Can't Predict
From Yogi Berra to Henri Poincaré
10 The Scandal of Prediction
11 How to Look for Bird Poop
12 Epistemocracy, a Dream
13 Appelles the Painter, or What Do You Do if You Cannot Predict?
Part Three: Those Gray Swans Of Extremistan
14 From Mediocristan to Extremistan, and Back
15 The Bell Curve, That Great Intellectual Fraud
16 The Aesthetics of Randomness
17 Locke's Madmen, or Bell Curves in the Wrong Places
18 The Uncertainty of the Phony
Part Four: The End
19 Half and Half, or How to Get Even with the Black Swan
Epilogue: Yevgenia's White Swans
About the Author
About the Type”
Tags: Probability, History, Economics, Finance, Psychology, CriticalThinking
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