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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Taleb, Nassim Nicholas (1st (first) Edition) [Hardcover(2007)] Hardcover – April 17, 2006
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Top customer reviews
Will recommend to anyone who are willing to plough through.
Thus "models" have only very limited usefullnes, and help (normally) in "dull" systems.
This is the first time I've read an understandable explanation of fractal systems. And it also confirmed what I thought probable: Econometrics and economic systems analysis is either hot air or (as Nicholas Taleb puts it): Bull***t.
Combine liberal dollops of humour, deep thought and you have an engrossing book.
In the Second Edition there are great insghts into the 2008 Meltdown. This "crisis" doesn't fit in with a *real* Black Swan, since the people who thought about it saw it coming, but is a perfect example of how we need to totally rethink on how we manage risk in real systems. Basically, you can't predict risk, son you have to prepare yourself as best as possible (hedge your bets).
This is such a book.
This book makes the problem of knowledge come alive. It basically
addresses the question of what knowledge and the acquisition of
knowledge mean especially when it's what we don't know, the black
swans, that impacts us the most. This problem comes alive in the story
of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's (NNT) life and how he grew up in war-torn
Lebanon, a country reputed for its long-lasting peace. In turn, I can't help but
finding "black swans" in my life as well. I wonder how many people have
black swans in their closet so-to-speak.
The black swan problem leads to skepticism toward science and
causality. Religion and faith are the alternatives. Erudition is
necessary to keep an open mind. Scholarship w/o erudition leads to
disaster: platonicity and simplification. NNT does seem to take
pleasure to display his erudition.
While this book does not propose new theoretical paradigms for
predicting black swans (that wouldn't make sense), it gives some
practical advice for making decisions in an uncertain world. One such
advice is to "maximize the serendipity around you" and another is to
"worry less about embarrassement than about missing an opportunity."
In this context, the chance aspects of success ("success is a
cummulative advantage") are clearly exposed and for that, this book gets 4 stars.