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The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact…
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The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility". (udgave 2010)

af Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Forfatter)

Serier: Incerto (2)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
8,602197987 (3.74)1 / 114
Business. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we dont know, now with a new section called On Robustness and Fragility.

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.
 
Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we dont know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the impossible.
 
For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb will change the way you look at the world, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a landmark bookitself a black swan.
… (mere)
Medlem:cthiebaud
Titel:The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility".
Forfattere:Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Forfatter)
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2010), Edition: 2, 480 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable af Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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 Philosophy and Theory: The Black Swan8 ulæste / 8Jesse_wiedinmyer, juni 2007

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Mr. Taleb has a problem. He is not fond of randomness. Specifically, he is not fond of catastrophic, unexpected randomness. Likely, this has much to do with the destruction of his own home in Lebanon. These events that are unecpected he calls a Black Swan.

This read is a little dated in the sense that it was written in 2006. Much of the science present reflects the thinking of the period. However, Mr. Taleb succeeds in his quest to be a kind of modern day Socrates basically resisting the Gaussian tyranny and insisting on some level we know nothing. He does exceedingly well at this.

On the other hand, he seems to completely overlook those who can generate a black swan almost single-handedly. The Ultra-Rich banking people who have fueled much of Mr. Taleb's career are likely not affected by the black swans of the world the way the rest of humanity is. Why? Because a conspiracy among a few is not a black swan except to those who are not "in on it". By his own admission, Mr. Taleb's father preferred the company of highly educated Jesuit Priests. In a later chapter, he mentions the Da Vinci code as a book example. He also uses Nero as the name of an example character, as well as mobsters. These things make one wonder what or who Mr. Taleb is ultimately serving.

One thing is for sure, by his own admission he "Hates black swans" and yet, his entire career has been defined by them.

My rating reflects less a judgment on the quality of the writing, and more of a judgment on the content. Simply put, there is much in this book I do not agree with. Yet, where I do agree, I am in strong agreement. If I agreed with the whole thing, would I have given the review five stars? Perhaps. Somehow, in this case, it feels like my disagreements where they exist are strong enough to warrant the docking of one star. The contents is well worth reading simply to make one "think through" what they think they know, especially if they have ever had statistics. Just know beforehand that I think at the very least Mr. Taleb has some blindness. At the worst, he is providing a framework to protect his own interests. ( )
  jbschirtrzinger | Apr 23, 2024 |
This book would have benefited greatly from being about 2/3 shorter than it is. Taleb has some interesting ideas here, but not enough to sustain a book as long as the one he has written. I ploughed all the way through it for the nuggets, but it was a chore to do so. Also, as other readers here have noted, his arrogance eventually becomes a distraction. If you want to read this, check it out from the library and skim it. Don't pay for it. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
While the book covers some important topics and provides some solid insight, it takes far too long to make its points. Plus, the author is an arrogant blowhard who goes out of his way to disparage and insult broad classes of people. The book covers these points (among others):

* Some risk domains are hugely affected by outlier events
* Many self-proclaimed experts use models that diminish the importance of these events.
* These outliers cannot be predicted; the only reasonable approaches are to avoid them or to protect against them (insurance, options, etc.).

That's about all you need to know. ( )
  cmayes | Dec 21, 2023 |
Real rating (4.65) is taken from an objective calculation. Review extended source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CQPvUzkid_m587YlmGtf3Eu_app5ZP2a/view?usp=shari...

Questions from the Orientation Phase
1. What is the overall structure and organization of the book? Again, very broadly and briefly.
Just to give a general sense.
In the first section of the book, Taleb goes into a few of the fallacies and faults of the human mind. In
the second section he goes into errors the mind makes when reasoning with regards to predicting
the future (i.e., the stock market) specifically. In the third section Taleb goes into detail explaining the
swans that exist (white, black, gray) compared to the different environments (Mediocristan,
Extremistan). In the last chapter before the postscript, he gives some advice on how to deal with all
the different swans for a more anti-fragile life. The postscript essay is a more technical discussion of
the concepts meant for those who “studied too much” to accept the implications. I have personally
skimmed this section and can’t go into detail about what is said. I might read this section in-depth
later on if I deem it worthy for my own goals.
2. What are the main topics or themes discussed in the book?
The main theme can be stated as uncertainty with regards to human reasoning and prediction of the
future. The primary topics the author goes into are the different swans:
 White Swans (common, predictable events with low consequences)
 Gray Swans (rare but mildly difficult predictable events with high consequences)
 Black Swans (super rare and nearly impossible to predict events with extreme consequences)
Taleb mentions that white swans are more prevalent in a Mediocristan environment as opposed to
an Extremistan environment where Black Swans are present the most.

The Mediocristan environment can be defined as an environment where one item in a dataset does
not impact the average too much, i.e., it’s linear. Think of for example weight or length; in a dataset
of 20 people, even the fattest person does not bring the average too high.
In contrast, the Extremistan environment can be stated to be non-linear and highly complex. Here it
is possible that in a dataset of 20 people, or even a few million people, one person is responsible for
more than 90% of the complete set and thus impacts the average significantly. An obvious example
of this is net worth.
Taleb continues to argue that statistical measures such as the bell curve are only useful in
Mediocristan type environments, where Gaussian randomness rules; a non-scalable randomness, the
rate of decline or increase changes. However, in an Extremistan environment, there is scalable
Mandelbrotian randomness; the rate of decline or increase is constant, no matter at which level one
is.
Taleb argues it is best to acknowledge that we as humans can’t predict Black Swans in most cases,
and especially can’t predict Extremistan futures; we have no way of predicting society in a few years,
or the stock market, or technological advancements, or the finances of a country, etc.
3. What is the author's main argument or thesis? State this briefly.
The author’s main argument is that we should not try to predict Extremistan futures, it’s impossible
to do. Instead, he argues, we should be robust again them; defend against negative black swans;
therefore do not make risk-taking decisions based on chance, but rather on consequence. In
addition, he argues that we should not apply Gaussian measurements to environments where
Mandelbrotian randomness is at work, he calls this epistemic arrogance; thinking too much of what
we know.
A different way of stating the thesis of the book is to say that Taleb scolds the oversimplification of
reality that we as humans are subject to, unless we consciously change this. In complex Extremistan
environments, there are by far way too many factors, both known and unknown, involved to
accurately make predictions. He uses a concept coined platonicism here to indicate a human’s
erroneous need for over-categorization.
4. What is the writing style or tone used by the author?
The author writes in a style suitable to the general public while making use of funny anecdotes and
narratives, even though Taleb argues against narratives, or at least the narrative fallacy (giving a
cause-and-effect explanations to random details and events), he finds it a valuable tool to convey
knowledge.
5. How would you classify the book? This is not as straight forward as distinguishing fiction
from non-fiction, but rather to distinguish multiple forms of expository works from each
other (those that intend to convey knowledge).
a. Is this book theoretical or practical in nature? Does it intend to tell you how to do
something, or what is the case? Or is there a degree of both?
b. Is the book science, philosophy, history, or math, etc.? Of course, there can be a
degree of both, just like with theory vs practice.

It’s a primarily theoretical book with practical implications and advice. It’s a scientific book by nature.
Questions from the Conceptualization Phase
1. What is the unity of the whole book? Answer this as briefly as possible, at most a few
sentences (short paragraph) — In other words, what is the book’s main theme or point?
Comparable to the plot of a novel. Adler and van Doren mention that it’s often the case you
will also mention the (major) parts while formulating the whole, as can be seen in below
extended examples.
You can almost see this as the formula of the book; Adler gives a romance example in the
following way: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.
He also gives an example of a practical book, titled The Wealth of Nations, authored by Adam
Smith:
This is an inquiry into the source of national wealth in any economy that is built on a
division of labor, considering the relation of the wages paid labor, the profits
returned to capital, and the rent owed the landowner, as the prime factors in the
price of commodities. It discusses the various ways in which capital can be more or
less gainfully employed, and relates to the origin and use of money to the
accumulation and employment of capital. Examining the development of opulence in
different nations and under different conditions, it compares the several systems of
political economy, and argues for the beneficence of free trade.
An extended example for a theoretical scientific book he gives on Darwin’s The Origin of
Species:
This is an account of the variation of living things during the course of countless
generations and the way in which this results in new groupings of plants and animals;
it treats both of the variability of domesticated animals and of variability under
natural conditions, showing how such factors as the struggle for existence and
natural selection operate to bring about and sustain such groupings; it argues that
species are not fixed and immutable groups, but that they are merely varieties in
transition from a less to a more marked and permanent status, supporting this
argument by evidences from extinct animals found in the earth’s crust, and from
comparative embryology and anatomy.

This is an account of the flaws in human reasoning when it comes to attempting to predict the future.
It does so by explaining certain fallacies we often, unconsciously, commit while reasoning. The
author primarily cautions against inductive reasoning and instead argues for a more deductive
approach. The author distinguishes between two types of environments, one where events and
randomness are simplistic in nature and quite predictable, the Mediocristan environment, and one
where events and randomness are highly complex and nearly impossible to predict, the Extremistan
environment. The work is centered in the latter, as the main concept of the book, The Black Swan, an
event that is almost impossible to predict yet bears enormous consequences, either positive or
negative, is prevalent only in the Extremistan environment. In a linear, simplistic, environment,
outliers do not have a major impact, argues the author. The work discusses the nature of the Black
Swan, as well as its counterparts, the White and Gray Swans, why they exist, what their impact is,
and it gives advice on how to adequately deal with them. The author furthermore explains two types
of randomness: Gaussian randomness, which is scalable, and is applicable to Mediocristan
environments, and Mandelbrotian randomness, which is non-scalable and is applicable to

Extremistan environments. The author scorns so-called “experts” who foolishly apply Gaussian
measurements, such as the famous bell-curve, to Extremistan environments. In particular, the author
argues against listening to “experts” who attempt to predict the stock market or other financial
systems as it is impossible to do so, and an expert prediction is usually only slightly better than that
of a cab-driver, as he shows. Instead, the author suggests acknowledging that we cannot predict
extreme events, so we should not rely on overly complex predictive models, and become robust
against them; preventing risk not based on chance but on consequence.
2. What are the major parts of the book and how are these organized into a whole by being
ordered to one another and to the unity of the whole? We answer this question by manner
of outline. At times, after answering this question, you want to refine the unity as stated
above. Feel free to do so.
It’s essential to keep in mind that you can use the book’s headings and sub-headings as
guidance, but you shouldn’t overrely on it... The primary point is to think for yourself, what
happens in the mind determines the quality of comprehension and retention.
The first part of the book sets the stage by making us aware of the limits of our knowledge as well as
certain fallacies we commit and biases we have. In the second part, we dive into the meat of the
work by going into the depths of why prediction, in an Extremistan environment, is a fool’s errand. In
the third part, the book explains to us the error of using certain statistical measures in an Extremistan
environment as well as the different types of randomness. In the fourth part, a single chapter, the
book gives us some advice on how to deal with all the previous knowledge, it is the practical
summarization. In the postscript, the work gives a more technical explanation of the concepts and
implications for those that did not understand it in the prior parts, the author recommends most
people to skim or even skip certain chapters here, before finally giving more practical advice for the
individual and society as a whole. Everything considered, the organization is well done and provides a
good guidance into understanding both the tree and the forest, the concepts and the main points.
3. What are the problems the author is trying to solve? Why did the author write what he
wrote? What were his intentions?
I believe the author’s intentions were to make the reader aware of the Black Swan and its impact as
well as how to deal with it. He also wants to convince us that predicting the future in an Extremistan
environment is futile, and often even disastrous.
Questions from the Investigation Phase
1. Locate or construct the basic arguments in the book by finding them in the connection of
sentences. If the author summarizes his arguments after each chapter, it should be relatively
easy to find the arguments leading up to those points in aforementioned chapter.
Note: I do not write every single argument he makes here. Just those relevant to the main points,
and those that I find prominently positive or negative.
Argument against prediction of the future in Extremistan environments
A rather profound argument that Taleb makes against predicting the future in complex, non-linear
environments is the following: It is impossible to predict either social or economic futures on the
merits that they depend largely on advances in science and technology. Technological advancements,

or innovations, are impossible to predict in themselves. If one could predict an innovation, the
innovation would already be here, for you would know how it worked and thus could build it;
therefore, there is no way we can predict innovations and thus any environment that depends on
them.
An illustration for this is given on page 135 as is said that the three largest innovations of last century
(the computer, the internet, and the laser) were “unplanned, unpredicted, and unappreciated upon
their discovery.” These innovations were Black Swans; they were nearly unpredictable and had
extreme consequences globally. It can be said that most innovations, and even scientific advances,
are serendipitous, or dependent on chance, as often advancements in an area are made while
looking for something in another area.
Another argument Taleb makes against prediction of the future is the narrative fallacy. He argues
that humanity often over relies on learning from history in the sense that we give cause-and-effect
explanations to Black Swans that have happened. He argues that history does not crawl, but rather
jumps, as is evident from the fact that we have made more innovations in the last few centuries than
in the entire history of earth. Regardless, even though nobody, or only a few people, for example saw
certain wars coming, after “study” it is explained why it is “logical” that it happened, increasing the
confidence, especially for “experts”, to predict the next war (the narrative fallacy reminds me very
much of the hindsight bias; “I knew it all along.”). People seem to forget that their record of
prediction is often extremely flawed. After the First World War, it was common knowledge that
Europe would “never see a war on such grand scale again,” yet, not even a century later, World War
2 happened. We tend to overestimate the significance of what we know, instead, Taleb argues, we
should be reminded of how much we do not know. Especially when it comes to complex
environments, there are a lot of unknown unknowns, factors that impact or cause the event that we
don’t even understand or know about. Basically, this fallacy makes that we can’t rely on previous
data or information when it comes to predicting the future as it often is far from enough or distorts
our view. A prediction must be made beforehand, not afterward. A Black Swan event, according to
Taleb, cannot be predicted from its predecessor; a war cannot be predicted by the last war, a market
crash cannot be predicted by the last market crash.
Argument against the use of predictive models
Turkey. Thanks-giving turkey. Dear reader, please don’t be a turkey.
Each and every day a turkey gets fed by its human, giving the turkey the idea that the human is
taking care of him and is safe, a protector. According to the turkey’s predictive model, based on
dozens of days of data, his days of laziness will go on for years and years to come. Until, suddenly,
the human protector slaughters the turkey for food. How was this possible? All the numbers from
the prediction machine showed that the turkey would be fed for years to come, all previous data
pointed towards this. It was impossible for the turkey to not be fed one day. But now the turkey is
dead.
I have adapted and paraphrased this example from the book itself. It shows why previous data
cannot be used to predict the future in an Extremistan environment (the turkey’s slaughtering was a
Black Swan event). Extremistan environments are non-linear and highly complex, there are so many
factors involved, some, or a lot, not even known to us, therefore it’s impossible to predict based on
previous data (in this example only a single metric was used, but the point remains the same). What’s

worse is that in a real Extremistan environment, most often calculations are exponential, meaning
that the further ahead in time you go, the bigger the effect is. Even the slightest error in value (either
to the factors or how the factors influence the calculation) can cause catastrophic errors in the
output. Now ask yourself how likely it is that a model can accurately predict the stock market
movements, or the society’s future as there are likely millions and millions of factors involved. For
the calculation to be accurate, each and every of those factors must be 100% correct, for even a less
than 1% error will cause major discrepancies between the predicted outcome and the reality.
As mentioned somewhere earlier in the review, the same goes for applying Gaussian measurements
to Mandelbrotian randomness type environments, in other words, applying a bell curve to an
Extremistan type environment. Any model that uses averages to predict will not work in an
Extremistan environment because a single entry can influence 90+% of the average. I will not explain
this point more in-depth as it is not relevant to me at this moment, so I refuse to dive deeper into it.
If you want to have a deep understanding of this argument, buy the book and read it yourself.
2. What are the author’s solutions to the problems he was trying to solve? Did he raise new
problems or questions while solving? Did he manage to solve all problems, or did he fail to
solve some?
Taleb acknowledges it is impossible to not be a turkey (ignorant) at all times, as it takes a lot of
energy to consciously doubt everything that is happening. Therefore, he recommends taking a
skeptical attitude only in those areas where it matters to the individual.
Taleb advices not to worry about common worries, but moreso about the hidden ones; the Black
Swans. He also advices to make use of the Stoic principle of the dichotomy of control, in the sense
that a Black Swan will only control you if you let it control you. “Missing a train is only painful when
you run after it.”
Actual Criticism
The Author is Unclear Here and Here, and this is Why
In this section, you write down where the author is unclear and why he is so. For further information,
refer to the clarity section of either Appendix A or the template introduction.
I have found the author to be clear at all times. I have had a few times while reading I had some
difficulty understanding a concept, but then I noticed it was explained either more extensively or in a
different way later on, or if I compared it to a different idea mentioned elsewhere I would
understand it. The book is very well-written.
The Author is Illogical Here and Here, and this is Why
In this section, you write down where the author is illogical and why he is so. For further information,
refer to the logic section of either Appendix A or the template introduction.
I have not detected flaws in logic, perhaps if I would spend hours more diving deep into the
substance, but this is not worth it to me as this book is not my main area. In fact, if I did not want to
give an example for this template, I would probably not have filled out the entire review as
extensively as I did for this book in particular.

The Author is Misinformed Here and Here, and this is Why
In this section, you write down where the author is misinformed and why he is so. For further
information, refer to the misinformedness section of either Appendix A or the template introduction.
Once again, I have not detected misinformation as this is not my area of expertise.
The Author’s Analysis is Incomplete and this is Why
In this section, you write down why the author’s analysis is incomplete. For further information, refer
to the analysis section of either Appendix A or the template introduction.
I believe the analysis of the author is complete, and I know enough to deal with the concepts given. If
I need more knowledge, I will read his other books. However, I do feel like the author could’ve given
some more coverage to the fact that randomness is not truly random, but rather what we perceive
as random is just due to the fact we can’t comprehend the true machine that emits events (the rules)
as well as all the factors involved. Regardless, I don’t think it’s relevant enough to his points, though I
think it would have given some of his arguments extra weight.
The Author is Uninformed Here and Here, and this is Why
In this section, you write down where the author is uninformed and why he is so. For further
information, refer to the uninformedness section of either Appendix A or the template introduction.
I have not detected uninformedness.
Other Thoughts
In this section, you can write your own thoughts regardless of the template’s prompts.
I think the headings Taleb used could’ve been more descriptive. The phrases he used makes the table
of contents only useful after having read the book, as beforehand you have no idea what each
chapter title means.
Final note (unrelated to the book): My main area of research and interest is education and learning.
This book is unrelated to that, even though I can use some of the matter here as arguments for my
own book Efficient Learning in an Inefficient System: How to become more knowledgeable than your
teachers before you leave school. This results in the fact that while I could’ve invested more time and
effort into dissecting this book, I will not. I could probably have found inconsistencies, or flaws in
logic, or an incomplete analysis if I invested this time and effort, but it is not worth it to me even
though I highly like and recommend this book. I have already gotten everything I needed from it. I
would likely not have found misinformedness or uninformedness as this is just not my area of
expertise. Adler and van Doren argue that a book so good that no flaws can be detected is incredibly
rare (some might say a Black Swan), therefore I can virtually guarantee there are flaws with the book,
and I just cannot find them with the current time and effort invested. ( )
  LordMartron | Dec 5, 2023 |
Zeer deskundig uitgesponnen werk over het onverwachte fenomeen dat een totale ommekeer kan betekenen (= zwarte zwaan). De doorgetrokken logica naar kansberekening en beursspeculaties zijn erg nuttig en slaan de nagel op de kop. Spijtig van de overtollige ballast die eraan toegevoegd wordt die uiteindelijk het boek een ware beproeving maken.
Op aanraden van mijn dochter - die meestal enkel lezenswaardige tips doorgeeft - heb ik dit boek door gezwoegd. Kleine lettertjes en een kolos van een boek is echt niet prettig om aan te beginnen. Dit boek kan inhoudelijk gereduceerd worden tot een 250 bladzijden zonder essentie te verliezen.
Ik vermoed dat de Nassim Nicholas Taleb erg intelligent is en terzake deskundig, daar twijfel ik niet aan; maar om zo af te geven op collega's die misschien onterecht een erkenning hebben gekregen waarvan hij vindt dat die hem toekomen is op de duur vervelend om te lezen.
Ik kan dit boek eigenlijk niemand aanraden. Het is het tijdverlies niet waard en ik vermoed dat er terzake compactere boeken zijn die wel aangenaam om lezen zijn. ( )
  jwi61 | Nov 29, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 196 (næste | vis alle)
Since the book was written prior to the current situation, many of the insights will seem prophetic. For instance, “regulators in the banking business are prone to a severe expert problem and they tend to condone reckless but (hidden) risk taking.” Some might think that the book specifically predicted the current market and economic crisis—wrong. The book is about the expectation that it could occur.
tilføjet af dtw42 | RedigerBusiness Economics, Gerald L Musgrave (pay site) (Aug 11, 2011)
 
Some of his presentation is incendiary in criticizing economics, finance, and many of its most honored practitioners. Because the book is viewed as being partly about Taleb himself and because of the style of the presentation, some react to the author's persona. If you are forewarned and forearmed, it is easier to focus on the ideas in the book. Because the arguments are controversial, it is understandable that he has chosen to have sharp elbows in getting to the front of the stage.
tilføjet af Jozefus | RedigerJSTOR / Business Economics, Gerald L. Musgrave (pay site) (Apr 1, 2009)
 
Taleb and his publishers clearly believe the success of Fooled by Randomness is going to come again. But that book had a persuasive sobriety. The same cannot be said for The Black Swan, which despite the great utility of its insights is badly structured and hurriedly written.
tilføjet af Jozefus | RedigerThe Guardian, Giles Foden (May 12, 2007)
 
"The Black Swan" has appealing cheek and admirable ambition, and contains such wise observations as: “We attribute our successes to our skills, and our failures to external events outside our control.” But the book exhibits shortcomings, the first being lack of structure.
 

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Before the discovery of Australia, people in the Old World were convinced that all swans were white, an unassailable belief as it seemed completely confirmed by empirical evidence.
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Die beste Strategie besteht also darin, möglichst viel auszuprobieren und möglichst viele Chancen, aus den sich Schwarze Schwäne ergeben könnten, zu ergreifen.
Die narrative Verzerrung ist Ausdruck unserer eingeschränkten Fähigkeit, Reihen von Fakten zu betrachten, ohne eine Erklärung in sie hineinzuweben oder, was dasselbe bedeutet, gewaltsam eine logische Verknüpfung, einen Beziehungspfeil zwischen ihnen herzustellen. Erklärungen binden Fakten zusammen. Sie sorgen dafür, dass wir uns viel leichter an sie erinnern können, dass sie mehr Sinn ergeben. Diese Neigung kann uns aber in die Irre führen, wenn sie unseren Eindruck, dass wir verstehen, verstärkt.
Wir sind soziale Tiere; die Hölle sind andere Menschen.
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Business. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we dont know, now with a new section called On Robustness and Fragility.

A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.
 
Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we dont know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the impossible.
 
For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb will change the way you look at the world, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a landmark bookitself a black swan.

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