Results 1-10 of 10
User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Q. How did you like the book?
A. Mostly, I enjoyed it. Some parts lost me and some parts seemed repetitive. I like the way Nassim went off on the idols of economics, the universities, the Nobel
prize, and such. He is a rebel, but he has a lot of information to share.
Q. What is his main message?
A. Well, there are several messages, almost like one of those fractals Nassim describes for us. He knew Mandelbrot, the inventor of the concept, and explains them well here. But he does jump around quite a bit. He has focus, the black swan, the unusual event, but he often diverges. He reads so much and knows so many people and has so many axes to grind, he didn't really give his book the property of conciseness.
Q. So the book is difficult to read?
A. Yes and no. A paradox. And here's another paradox: Nassim rails against the narrative fallacy, where people, even scientists, try to string random events together into a story, to appeal to others. He does the same thing, and he does a good job of it. In fact, I think the whole book can be called his narrative of his life, his thinking, and the subject matter, all weaved into a theme so that readers can understand, well, half of it. Within that narrative, he also has a smaller narrative about a Russian writer and her suave boyfriend. Very cute. There are other stories, too. So much for the narrative fallacy. Narratives may not always, or even ever, true, but we still need them, especially trying to understand the mathematics and philosophy Nassim is presenting here. How many people know about Mandelbrot and his fractals?
Q. Only the specialists in the field.
A. Yes, probably, so Nassim is trying to make some of this available for the general reader. He has another book out now. I'll try to read that one, too.
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Absolute must read essay on how we should rethink our desire to control or predict the unpredictable: the future.
This book is constantly with me on my Kindle, Iphone or hard copy. It's a reference
and reminder for every instance of 'know-it-alls' talking too much about the future or the past...  

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I've read it several times and can't wait to get the new edition on May 11, 2010.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Many reviewers of this book at Amazon and elsewhere have done an admirable summarizing the key topics addressed by Taleb in his book on the "Black Swan" -- his metaphor for events that fundamentally could not be predicted by the mechanisms that humans (including scholars) use to understand past events and frame their expectations for the future. Therefore, I won't spend additional time rehashing these topics. Overall, I feel that Taleb makes some compelling points about the problems of experiential induction, "winner take all" effects, and probability models centered around the Gaussian or normal distribution. He also provides some useful examples and thought experiments from everyday life that illustrate these problems effectively.
However, I feel that the main downfall of this book lies in Taleb's frequent but unfocused references to philosophical and literary figures and concepts that seem far too obscure to appeal to the average reader. The author's choice to constantly fling these references at his readers, as if he's desperately seeking to demonstrate his intellectual pedigree, detracts from the clarity and thematic unity of the book and can be both dull and downright confusing for readers, as in the case where Taleb invents the story of a fictional French-Russian philosophe-author as evidence of the "Black Swan" effect with nary an explanation for how such a story provides greater value than a comparable example taken from real life (or even no example at all). This meandering, half-philosophical half-practical style, combined with Taleb's sometimes-tiring and often unprofessional sarcasm and derision for those who have yet to see and apply the (admittedly valid) wisdom of his points about randomness, left me with scarcely enough patience to get through the entire book. I felt that he could have communicated his ideas in equal detail but with greater impact (and less self-aggrandizement) in a book half or two-thirds this length.
In short, Taleb's main ideas are interesting and worth considering, but don't expect this book to give you a pithy pitch about the influence of randomness on the world. The book is ultimately as much or more concerned with the philosophical implications of this randomness than it is with how you can protect yourself against randomness (or alternatively, leverage it to gain some benefit or advantage). While that might not be a negative thing for a book about philosophy, I found it distracting and disappointing for a book in a more mass-market nonfiction genre.
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Not a review. Just excerpts from the book "The Black Swan"
scalable jobs
Hume
adversos mathematicos against the professors sextus
tahfut al falasifa
-----------------
"This, perhaps, is true self-confidence: the ability to look at the world without the need to find signs that stroke one's ego.*"
"A BIRD IN THE
THE HAND IS WORTH
TWO IN THE BUSH" - Alan Snyder
"mere absence of nonsense may not be sufficient to make something true"
"If you work in a randomness-laden profession, as we see, you are likely
to suffer burnout effects from that constant second-guessing of your past
actions in terms of what played out subsequently. Keeping a diary is the
least you can do in these circumstances."
---------
Technology is growing faster than we are genetically-able to handle, hence it will either crush us since we are not evolved enough to survive it, or since we are its authors, it will 'plateau'.
---------------
Francis Bacon Novum Organum
What I learned Losing a Million Dollars by D. Paul and B. Moynihan
Dissertation on the Search for Truth - Simon Foucher
"The Three Princes of Serendip." Hugh Walpole
henri poincare la science et l'hypothese chaos theory
---------------
Latin poet Terence: Homo sum, humani a me nil alienum puto—I am a man, and nothing human is foreign to me
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I really liked this book, it can change a way in which you see world and perhaps even more a way in which you see accomplishment. It also helps to understand some events in finance. Its psychology is based on typical Kahneman and Tversky stuff. The take home idea for me was to increase my exposure to positive black swans and to insure against and be mentally prepared for negative black swans. As was as ease of reading goes, I might have liked Fooled by Randomness more. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Ok, this book is f$%king brilliant. Perhaps I feel this way because I have always had sense that people value things in an arbitrary way. I have often seen the failures of modern life and not understood why no one else sees them. Well, other people do see it. I just don't know them.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I recommend this book everyone who wants to see the life in a different way

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

i read this book on university as my lecturer gave this to our class as a project. however, as pages went one by one, I began to continue reading for not only as a homework but fun and curiosity.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Simply the best life and investment advice ever given - even better than "Fooled by Randomness". Thanks to Mr. Taleb!


User ratings

5 stars
81
4 stars
69
3 stars
38
2 stars
14
1 star
9

5 stars - 32
4 stars - 30
3 stars - 18
1 star - 9

Editorial reviews - 0
User reviews - 10