Elegant book that underscores the hubris of "experts," the deficiency of herd thinking and the limitations of our ability to predict the future.
Personally found Nassim Taleb's 'Fooled by Randomness' to be more interesting and easier to read (though the concepts and material covered are quite similar).
The Black Swan: the Impact of the Highly Improbable --- by --- Nassim Nicholas Taled.
Somehow I was expecting something more interesting, something more accessible, something less dense, something with more substance. I can deal with philosophy (if it’s cut up into bite-sized morsels), I can deal with history. Financial stuff awash with theory and mental lines and graphs, on the other hand, makes my eyes glaze over as though in insulin-shock brought on by an overdose of jelly-filled doughnuts. The financial stuff always gives me the distinct impression the emperor’s wearing nary his skivvies. Swan is a little reminiscent of a dog that goes to lie down but must first go around and around. Except I wonder if Taleb will ever stop going around.
In desperation, I invoked the fifty page rule and decided it would be best to go on to some more pre-masticated form of entertainment.
With my apologies to all the Talebs out there: for sure they already knew they weren’t writing for the unwashed masses.
As for me: I'm going to wash up for supper.
The hatred this book inspires bewilders me. Taleb mercilessly (and frequently viciously) attacks economists, so I understand why economists hate Taleb and his book. I don't understand why so many other people seem to hate his book. It is dense and it tells its thesis indirectly much of the time, but it is a brilliant book. I suspect its attack upon established paradigms is the cause of the bile spewed at the book. All I can say is to read it for yourself. But be warned, it isn't an easy read, so buckle in.
Book could have been about 30 pages. Maybe he had a bet with someone as to how many times he could use the word "Gaussian".
This book is worth reading notwithstanding the authors acerbic personality coming to the fore in his attempt to provide a "narrative".
Be warned: This book is not really about the origin, nature, or consequences of highly improbable events, about which you will learn little to nothing by reading it. It is a meandering, self-indulgent ramble through a landscape of truly interesting work that the author makes very little effort to explain. The book is really about one thing and one thing only: the author himself, as self-styled iconoclast. I want my 5 hours back.
An interesting read that is rather dense. The ideas are sound, but not something people can pick up on right away, you have to swish them around in your brain first.
I only read about 1/3 of this book and then I decided to give it a break. I may give it a go later but I was getting annoyed at how the author tells fictitious stories as though they were true and uses them as proof for his theory on Black Swans. Now, let me be clear, I believe his theory of Black Swans and very much believe that we humans think we know things that we have have very little idea about but his method turned me off and I finally had to quit reading the book, which is something I rarely do. Maybe I'll give it another chance in the future when I am in a different place in my life.
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