The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable


From wiki:

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable is a book on the black swan theory by epistemologist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, bestselling author of Fooled by Randomness.

A black swan is

  • a large-impact,
  • hard-to-predict, and
  • rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations.

Much of scientific discoveries for him are black swans – “undirected” and unpredicted. An event often referred to as a “black swan” is the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Bildungsphilister: a philistine with cosmetic, nongenuine culture. Nietzsche used this term to refer to the dogma-prone newspaper reader and opera lover with cosmetic exposure to culture and shallow depth. I extend it to the buzzword-using researcher in nonexperimental fields who lacks in imagination, curiosity, erudition, and culture and is closely centered on his ideas, on his “discipline.” This prevents him from seeing the conflicts between his ideas and the texture of the world.

Fooled by randomness: the general confusion between luck and determinism, which leads to a variety of superstitions with practical consequences, such as the belief that higher earnings in some professions are generated by skills when there is a significant component of luck in them.

Scorn of the abstract: favoring contextualized thinking over more abstract, though more relevant, matters. “The death of one child is a tragedy; the death of a million is a statistic.”

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable – Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Books – Review – New York Times

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