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The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: On Robustness and Fragility (Incerto) Paperback – May 11, 2010
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Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“The most prophetic voice of all.”—GQ
Praise for The Black Swan
“[A book] that altered modern thinking.”—The Times (London)
“A masterpiece.”—Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail
“Idiosyncratically brilliant.”—Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times
“The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works.”—Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate
“[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Hugely enjoyable—compelling . . . easy to dip into.”—Financial Times
“Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
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. Although he spends most of his time in the intense seclusion of his study, or as a flâneur meditating in cafés, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. His main subject matter is “decision making under opacity”—that is, a map and a protocol on how we should live in a world we don’t understand.
Taleb’s books have been published in thirty-three languages.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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The book covers both the math as well as the narrative intuition for understanding rare events and why we tend to underestimate both their frequency and effects on our best laid plans.
The book is full of hundreds of great examples, and it is written in a very approachable style.
Whether you are a hard core statistician or just someone interested in statistics, this is a great book for you.
In many ways this book tells us things that we all already know, but part of the reason that I believe it is so long is that it needs to systematically go through so many examples of situations that we all use the same type of false logic in, and tell us that it is harmful, no matter how trivial the situation may seem. Embracing what this book is trying to say is painful, and will cause extreme amounts of cognitive dissonance if you are not in the right place. You can generally tell if you fall into that category, when you find yourself picking holes in the edge of the argument for black swans, rather that looking at your held beliefs through the central idea of the book: seeing a million white swans does not confirm the theory that every swan is white, however the sight of one black swan means that the theory is irreparably flawed.
as a real world example, an algorithm that can perfectly predict a normal commodity market and provide consistent returns for 5 years, but is wrong for one day when the market moves 200+% due to a spontaneous crisis, is useless. The one day is the only thing that mattered, while the 20% years of small consistency are the statistical noise.
Most people will always prefer a seemingly solid floor to stand on, even if it prevents them from realizing that they're sinking into the ocean