The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Fragility"

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The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes.

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 don’t 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 explains everything we know about what we don’t know, 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.
Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the 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. The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.
Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“The most prophetic voice of all.”—GQ
Praise for The Black Swan
“[A book] that altered modern thinking.”—The Times (London)
“A masterpiece.”—Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail
“Idiosyncratically brilliant.”—Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times
The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works.”—Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate
“[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Hugely enjoyable—compelling . . . easy to dip into.”—Financial Times
“Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review

From the Hardcover edition.

About Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb has devoted his life to immersing himself in problems of luck, uncertainty, probability, and knowledge, and he has led three high-profile careers around his ideas, as a man of letters, as a businessman-trader, and as a university professor. Although he spends most of his time as a flâneur, meditating in cafés across the planet, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. His work has been published in thirty-three languages.
Published May 4, 2010 by Random House. 444 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Law & Philosophy, History, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Self Help, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for The Black Swan

The New York Times

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A Wall Street trader turned philosopher on the power of the unexpected.

Apr 22 2007 | Read Full Review of The Black Swan: Second Editio...

The Guardian

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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb 366pp, Penguin, £20 Once upon a time there was a clever young financial professional called Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

May 12 2007 | Read Full Review of The Black Swan: Second Editio...

Daily Kos

In this case, the academic is really saying "if I am 100 percent sure that the coin is fair, there is a Black Swan even that has 100 heads in a row" though, in reality, the academic would reject the null hypothesis that the coin is fair as the probability of a fair coin coming up heads 99 times i...

Aug 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Black Swan: Second Editio...


Bestselling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb continues his exploration of randomness in his fascinating new book, The Black Swan, in which he examines the influence of highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact.

Apr 23 2012 | Read Full Review of The Black Swan: Second Editio...

Harvard Business Review

But many people in power, business, politics, and the enormous advice business all around us, really can't know what they claim they do know.

Jun 14 2007 | Read Full Review of The Black Swan: Second Editio...

The Motley Fool

Nassim Taleb ends his new book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by thanking the reader for reading his book.

Aug 10 2007 | Read Full Review of The Black Swan: Second Editio...

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rahul 5 Sep 2013

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