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Black Swan, The Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Taleb is overly reliant on heavy irony, but, happily, David Chandlers narration rescues the authors repetitive discussion of his theory of randomness and the potential impact of random events. Using his own life to examine the actual impact of unexpected and unpredictable events, Taleb recounts the story of his childhood and rise as a Wall Street financer. Chandlers delivery of sardonic lines is often tongue-in-cheek, a tone that is less grating on listeners than the smug tone of the authors words. Chandler infuses Talebs theory of the Black Swan with an energy that propels listeners to learn more, rather than focusing on Talebs verbosity. Even if Talebs theory doesnt interest, Chandlers delivery manages to enhance this production. M.R. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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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
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.