- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 14 hours and 20 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: September 10, 2007
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000VXBVN6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Chapter 16 is excellent as an introduction to Mandelbrot's fractal geometry as an alternative to Gaussian based investment theory. He supports well that these mathematical tools do capture randomness (of non-stationary variables) far better than the Normal distribution. However, he admits that Mandelbrotian models are not predictive. When looking at the same data set, he and numerous colleagues each came up with different underlying parameters to build fractal-like models. And a small difference in such parameters makes a huge difference in outcome. That's why you will not hear much of fractal geometry within the quantitative financial community. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating subject that deserves further exploration. For this purpose, I recommend Mandelbrot's The Misbehavior of Markets
Within Chapter 17, Taleb further elaborates on the flaws of the Normal distribution. He underlines that half of the return of the stock market over the past 50 years was associated with just 10 days with the greatest daily change.Read more ›
The Black Swan is probably the strongest statement of enlightened empiricism since Ernst Mach refused to acknowledge the existence of the atom. Of course, in theory, everyone today is supposed to be an empiricist - all right-thinking intellectuals claim to base their views solely on positive scientific observation. But very few sincerely confront the implications of rigorous empiricism. Specifically, few confront "the problem of induction," illustrated here by the story of the black swan.
Briefly: observing an event once does not predict it will occur again in the future. This remains true regardless of the number of observations one adds to the pile. Or, as Taleb, recapitulating David Hume, has it: the observation of even a million white swans does not justify the statement "all swans are white." There is no way to know that somewhere out there a black swan is not hiding, disproving the rule and nullifying our "knowledge" of swans. The problem of induction tells us that we cannot really learn from our experiences. It makes knowledge very problematic, if not impossible. And yet, humans do behave -almost without exception- as though they believe that experience teaches us lessons. This is forgivable; there is no better path to knowledge.Read more ›
It is convincing argument, entertainingly presented with plenty of sarcasm, and indeed, anger, by Taleb. For example he rails against the academic community, economists (including specific names), and Nobel Prize committee. Considerable numbers of his arguments "ring true" to me, that is my experience in life confirms that they are more accurate than the traditional approach. Like any important work, 90% of what is in the book is not original; that does not make it less important. Taleb's contribution is in integrating the material together, and showing how these different ideas are tied to the Black Swan.
The themes include: winner-take-all phenonomen, numerous effects of randomness on the world, the invalidity of the Gaussian Bell Curve to most things in world, concepts of scalablity, numerous instabilities in the world, especially the modern world where information travels so quickly, the fallacies about people's inability to predict the future.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly recommended. Offers a fascinating new perspective of the world.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Good read if you are interested in how principles of finance applies to general things. I have 'Antifragile' which is also very readable and entertaining.Published 5 days ago by Mharper06
Original and thought-provoking. Makes you reevaluate how you view the world and so-called 'truths'.Published 8 days ago by SherryT
An informative and critical view of the current state of our financial markets. This book provides an accessible glance at economic strategies and failures.Published 8 days ago by beandelphiki
I had an interest before coming across this book on the unknown, -reading books way above my ability to understand just to have an idea what I didn't know, or the like. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Luke
The book is a portrayal of some very inconvenient truths! Not a very happy reality for humanity to face!Published 15 days ago by Kalman
The book brought some important ideas to the forefront, like the winner-takes-all phenomenon. I also liked the anecdotes. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Erol Inanc