Summary of The Black Swan

The Impact of the Highly Improbable

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The Black Swan book summary


10 Overall

8 Applicability

10 Innovation

10 Style


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.

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


When All Swans Were White
Before 1697, teachers confidently taught European schoolchildren that all swans were white. They had little reason to think otherwise, since every swan ever examined had the same snowy plumage. But then Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh landed in Australia. Among...
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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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    Rhett Jones 3 years ago
    Appreciated the closing comment on how we are all statistical outliers.
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    Rady Fahmy 4 years ago
    An absolutely brilliant book that steers away from fads and challenges you with intellect and mathematical and philosophical rigour.
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    robert Demers 5 years ago
    Despite your information above you are not compatable with Kindle!
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      Guest 5 years ago
      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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