The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Paperback – 28 Feb 2008
The order quantity for this product is limited to 2 units per customer
Please note that orders which exceed the quantity limit will be auto-canceled. This is applicable across sellers.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Great fun … brash, stubborn, entertaining, opinionated, curious, cajoling (Freakonomics)
An idiosyncratically brilliant new book (Sunday Telegraph)
A fascinating study of how we are regularly taken for suckers by the unexpected (Guardian)
Like the conversation of a raconteur ... hugely enjoyable - compelling (Financial Times)
Confirms his status as a guru for every would-be Damien Hirst, George Soros and aspirant despot (Sunday Times)
In the tradition of The Wisdom of Crowds and The Tipping Point (Time)
About the Author
About the Author: The author of The Black Swan is Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who spends a lot of his time relaxing in different places all over the world. He used to be a trader, but is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University. He has also authored the book called Fooled By Randomness.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What made "Fooled by Randomness" a worthwhile read is Taleb's meaningful dissection of factors governing chance, luck and success in financial markets and life. It implored people not to confuse luck with success. It was thought provoking and un-superfluous writing which got me interested in this book: Black Swan.
However, this book is as pretentious as can be. Taleb's pathetic need for ego-trip can be seen on almost every page, and in every paragraph of this book; all of which boils down to praising his own "sheer brilliance" and his "know-it-all" mind.
Taleb's central contention is that existence of outliers invalidates a hypothesis. Any person who has an understanding of the (inductive and deductive) reasoning process would realize that his "brilliant" contention is flawed. He stresses that no one could have predicted the current Financial Crisis, which is absurd because knowledgeable people clearly saw it coming years before; his position that no one could foresee growth of internet, or the rise of Google, are equally ridiculous. Going by Taleb's "ingenious viewpoint" none of us should go to work because we can be run-over by a bus on the way; or eat outside, because we can be poisoned to death; or even get up from bed, because we can kill ourselves if we fall the wrong way. Taleb occasionally mentions the greats like Karl Popper and twists their broad philosophical underpinnings to further his own narrow (and many stupid) viewpoints.
"Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence"; yes, we all know that because the idea is thousands of years old which can be traced back to the Greeks. Taleb, who has basically stolen the idea, pretentiously calls it the "Black Swan" to fool his readers. Even elementary statistics students know that many measures in nature do not follow Gaussian distribution, and all of us know that we cannot predict every single thing; we don't need Taleb using 300 pages full of extremely arrogant writing to repeat that.
The language is repetitive, the reading monotonous, and the style overbearing and obnoxious. The author comes off as a miserable, loser-child bullying in the playground. The only reason this gets 2 stars is because of references provided at the end which are quite useful even when partially incorrectly cross-referenced.
The Black Swan is roughly 400 pages long, but the ideas can be compressed to around 200 pages(that's the reason for my 4 stars, else it is 5). I read the book fully because the author has a personality (which the structured-oriented academic types would despise). He is honest and criticizes certain class of people with all his verbal venom.
The central subject of this book is that of the "single rare event" in any area, which is:
* unpredictable before the occurrence
* analyzed and mapped to a cause "after" its occurrence
* bound to completely alter the course of history compared to "all other" events.
Such an event is called a Black Swan event. The idea is simple, and the author wants you to be wise. He points out the myths and the intellectual frauds which the 20th century careerists have been committing (like those in academic research, banking sector, government, journalism and even in the medical field).
In a way, Taleb is in favor of :
* Empiricism & tinkering against the academia
* Entrepreneurs against bankers and bureaucrats
* The wisdom of the ancients against modernity.
* Mild randomness and stressors against artificial stability.
* Decentralized city-states against centralized nation-states.
* Fractals against the Gaussian bell curve
I would say that Taleb has written a powerful book hitting us with some hard realities. The book's content might look like bitter pill, but the patient would need it. You will become wiser reading this book.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
This is one of those life-changing books you thought didn't exist.