The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto Book 2)

by: Nassim Nicholas Taleb (0)

The most influential book of the past seventy-five years: a groundbreaking exploration of everything we know about what we don’t know, now with a new section called “On Robustness and Fragility.”

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 will change the way you look at the world, 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.

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. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, 
The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan.

The Quotes

The payoff of a human venture is, in general, inversely proportional to what it is expected to be.

Mistaking a naïve observation of the past as something definitive or representative of the future is the one and only cause of our inability to understand the Black Swan.

What is surprising is not the magnitude of our forecast errors, but our absence of awareness of it.

The Reviews

Already lots of reviews on this work but I have an additional thought or two. I would have liked to have given this book a higher rating but Dr. Taleb's incessant jibes at mathematicians, economists, those working within the financial markets, and even biologists (!!!) quickly gets VERY old. There are sections where every single page has some reference to this field or that which, in his estimation, is populated by nothing but the village idiots.I can certainly understand him taking exception with those who, at least in the lead up to 2008, steered us onto the financial rocks, but his beating of the same drum quickly grows stale. Here I think of the maxim that at some point you have to fix the problem and not the blame. This book could have been a hundred pages shorter--perhaps a 20,000 word piece of long-form journalism.He also drifts to and fro quite a bit in his writing. While I truly enjoy his erudition and a touch of the circumlocution, this work would have been much better served if he had kept to the task at hand.There are a couple of redeeming aspects to his effort however. His admonition that it is better to prepare than it is to predict are wise words in any walk of life and here he frames them nicely.Also, in the epilogue he lists his "Ten principles for a black swan robust society." These are wonderful admonitions such as society should not socialize the losses and privatize the gains. Capitalism is about rewards and punishments not just rewards is another good point. This short section is well worth your time.I also liked his introduction to the reader of the concept of iatrogenics--making sure no lasting harm is done while trying to help.This would have worked much better in 20K words and without the snide comments regarding others and their fields of study. I think an admonishment that fits here is the "play the ball not the man."Neal Schier - June 2018

Sometimes, there are huge, random and unpredictable events that shape our lives and history. There, I just saved you reading this 350 page book.

A must have read. Definitely get the second edition. The "postscript essay" is the most valuable part of the whole book. You have to slog your way through endless invectives in edition one, but the postscript in edition two ties it all together in a tight presentation. Excellent work that I came to through "The Signal and the Noise".

The first book that I read in the four-volume "Incerto" set by Nassim Kaleb was "Antifragile," so my reading of "The Black Swan" is out of sequence. However, I am glad that I came to it in its second edition, with footnotes addressing some of the criticisms made of it (tip: flip to the footnote as soon as you come across the symbol identifying it rather reading on to the end of the chapter where they are listed). While highly relevant to the dismal science of economics, it is far from a dismal tome. Some of the anecdotes will have you chuckling or even laughing out loud! It is a highly stimulating and entertaining book and will particularly delight those who enjoy the debunking of wrong-headed purveyors of elaborate academic theories that are not just useless but actually harmful. If this sounds like a book you might enjoy, be aware that the four-volume Incerto series is available as a set, something I found out too late to profit from the knowledge. I intend to purchase the other two volumes and recommend the set. His treatment of the devastating events known as Black Swans ought to be required reading for all who would like to avoid causing or experiencing them.

I hated this book more than any other book I've read in the past 3 years. I gave up after about 120 pages. This author is so incredibly self-indulgent and pompous. And the core message of the book - which is worth perhaps one single chapter - is one that I have known as an adult simply from observation of life. You can't anticipate every game-changing event. There are major things that will just happen, that you can't anticipate. Yeah, no doubt.Actually, the far-and-away most interesting parts of the book were the author's stories about Lebanon, which I found fascinating. I'd read a whole book about that, by this author. But that was about 10% of the book, and the rest of it was pompous junk.

I read the second edition (Kindle, $15, but still a bargain) as well as the first,and I could probably read it a third and fourth time, to try to absorb thewealth of information it contains.Some things stick out, in the theme of the surprises life gives us and givesthe experts, ones supposedly hard to surprise. The turkey analogy I'll never forget,as an implied critique of induction: day after day, the bird is fed and coddled bythe farmer, and the fowl assumes that this is what life is like...until Thanksgiving,which is a Black Swan day for him, though not for the farmer.My own past research on indirect sensing / data inversion problems was wellillustrated by Taleb's noting the difference in predicting the puddle from a melting mass of iceversus deriving the original geometry of that mass from knowledge of the puddle.Wonderful book, made a bit less so by the evident ego of the author,although indeed he has much to be proud of.

This book provided me with a entirely new way to see the things around me, even my own way of living. I had been forecasting and making my numbers thinking life is under a normal distribution of events, following a Gaussian vision and this book shows me is foolishness, we can't predict the future but be prepared for those events that can change our world for good, without warning, beyond our pretentious little wisdom. I really learn here that big adjustments should be made and to get a "stoic" way of life.

I bought this only because my hubby broke my other one. I use it for protein coffee and it does not have enough power to mix the powder into the coffee unfortunately. It would only be good to mix milk/creams, But if you are looking to mix any kind of powder it didn’t work well. I’ll be buying another product to replace this.

Super powerful battery operated little frother, zero complaints. Does a great job, the little stand is handy.... rinse to clean :)

I got this product delivered in May 2022 and on July 9, 2022 it stopped working. I tried replacing the batteries thinking that may be the problem but the frother is still dead. Very disappointed with this product.

Powerful blender! Works perfectly well on non-dairy milks.The holder that comes with the frother is handy! 10/10

Very easy to use frother! Colour is vibrant goes well with kitchen Decore as it sits on my counter! Highly recommend it!

I use this to froth my coffee creamer. And it works great.

This frother is perfect and now I’m addicted to using it daily! Makes coffee that much better!

Love this milk frother. Easy to use and store

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Incerto Book 2)
⭐ 4.5 💛 3417
kindle: $13.99
paperback: $1.99
hardcover: $1.87
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