Review: โ€œThe Black Swanโ€ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“I make a claim against many of our habits of thought, that our world is dominated by the extreme, the unknown and the very improbable.”

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This book is about our blindness to randomness. Especially when it comes to large deviations and what Nassim calls a “black swan” event.

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A “black swan” is a highly improbable event that is unpredictable, carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it look less random and more predictable that it actually was.

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Examples of black swans would be 9/11, the amazing success of Google.

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Why are we so bad at acknowledging these type of events? We concentrate on what we know and fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We love to oversimplify, narrate and categorize a complex reality. This hurts us when estimating risks and seizing opportunities.

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๐Ÿ“ “Only a few people understand that unread books are more valuable than read ones.” Focus on anti-knowledge I.e. What you don’t know.

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๐Ÿ“ “The movie makes the actor”

Often someone’s success is more luck than actual skill. The excellence of an director or actor is often assigned after the fact.

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๐Ÿ“ “In order to predict the future you need to know about technologies that will be discovered in the future. But that knowledge would almost automatically make us able to start developing those technologies right away. Ergo, we don’t know what we will know.”

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๐Ÿ“ That you have more information won’t make your predictions any better, but it will make you more certain they are.

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โญ๏ธ TAKEAWAY

We can’t predict future events for shit. But more importantly, people that work with predictions are even worse predictors than your average Joe.

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Great book! What are you currently reading?

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4/5

 

Check out myย reading listsย for more great books!

Books That Will Change You Forever!

I did a “favorites of 2016” last year on my instagram and I thought it would be a good addtion to my blog. Good book recommendations are always relevant, right? The list for 2017 is coming soon butthese books sure are worthy gifts for loved ones this holiday season!

Favorite Books of 2016 – Self-Discovery

My Pick:

“The Bhagavad Gita” – Translated and introduced by Eknath Easwaranย (Audio / Paperback)

One of my many takeaways from Nassim Nikolas Talebs book “Antifragile” was to read original material and books that stood the test of time. So I did just that and it turned out to be pretty sound advice. I naively thought it would be tough to enjoy books from hundreds of years ago, because old school writing styles, but thanks to modern translations I found it to be quite the opposite.

One book that stood out to me was “The Bhagavad Gita”, translated and introduced by Eknath Easwaran. After seeing this ancient Hindu scripture being referenced in more than six of the books I read this year, covering very different subjects, I’d decided to give it a shot. It was well worth it and you can find my “review” of it in my feed. What really stuck with me was the concept of detachment from outcome. “Only the one who is utterly engaged and utterly detached is able to live life fully.”

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RUNNERS UP:

Read the full list with all it’s categories here!