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The Black Swan

The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Random House,

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Category: Concepts & Trends

The Black Swan

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why highly significant yet unpredictable events, called "black swans," are underappreciated
  • Why people continually see misleading patterns in data
  • How to embrace randomness and come to terms with black swans


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Why you should read The Black Swan

According to critic Harold Bloom, Hamlet's predicament is not "that he thinks too much" but rather that "he thinks too well," being ultimately "unable to rest in illusions of any kind." The same could be said for philosopher, essayist and trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who finds something rotten in misguided yet supremely confident investment gurus, traders, hedge fund managers, Wall Street bankers, M.B.A.s, CEOs, Nobel-winning economists and others who claim that they can predict the future and explain the past. Like everyone else, says Taleb, these so-called "experts" fail to appreciate "black swans": highly consequential but unlikely events that render predictions and standard explanations worse than worthless. Taleb's style is personal and literary, but his heterodox insights are rigorous (if sometimes jolted by authorial filigree). This combination makes for a thrilling, disturbing, contentious and unforgettable book on chance and randomness. While Taleb offers strong medicine some readers may find too bitter at times, getAbstract prescribes it to anyone who wants a powerful inoculation against gullibility.

About the Author

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a former derivatives trader, is Dean's Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts and teaches at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He also wrote Fooled by Randomness.

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  1. March 20, 2013 Rhett Jones
    Appreciated the closing comment on how we are all statistical outliers.
  2. March 23, 2012 Rady Fahmy
    An absolutely brilliant book that steers away from fads and challenges you with intellect and mathematical and philosophical rigour.
  3. April 24, 2011 robert Demers
    Despite your information above you are not compatable with Kindle!
    1. April 26, 2011 Yessenia Batista
      Hi Robert, for assistance in getting our summaries onto your Kindle, please visit this following link for a step-by-step guide:
      Contact us if you have any questions, we'll be happy to help you further. :)

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