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The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable

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Language: English
Length: 480 Pages
Publisher: Penguin
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The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Paperback) Price: Rs.243

Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan is a concept that will change the way you look at the world. Black Swans underlie almost everything, from the rise of religions, to events in our own personal lives. A Black Swan is a highly improbable event with three principle 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. And why do we always ignore the phenomenon of Black Swans until after they occur? As Nassim Nicholas Taleb reveals, we are hard-wired not to truly estimate risk, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the ‘impossible’. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know, and shows us how to face the world.

Specifications of The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Paperback)

Contributors
Authored By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Book Details
Publisher Penguin
Imprint Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Year 2008
ISBN-13 9780141034591
ISBN-10 0141034599
Language English
Edition 01
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 480 Pages
Dimensions
Width 5 inch
Height 8 inch
Depth 27 inch
Weight 340 g
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Book Reviews of The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable

4.4
Average Rating
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Most Helpful Reviews (5 of 21)

★★★★★
★★★★★
23 February 12
Pretentious Ego-trip that is Vastly Overrated

After reading "Fooled by Randomness" by Taleb, there is no mistaking that this book was intended as a haphazard rehash of his previous work. It's like a bad movie sequel, like Speed 2 or Basic Instinct 2, which were intended to fool the audience so that the studio can make a quick buck. This book is worse than those movies in many ways.

What made "Fooled by Randomness" a worthwhile read is Taleb's meaningful dissection of factors governing chance, luck and success in financial markets and life. It implored people not to confuse luck with success. It was thought provoking and un-superfluous writing which got me interested in this book: Black Swan.

However, this book is as pretentious as can be. Taleb's pathetic need for ego-trip can be seen on almost every page, and in every paragraph of this book; all of which boils down to praising his own "sheer brilliance" and his "know-it-all" mind.
Taleb's central contention is that existence of outliers invalidates a hypothesis. Any person who has an understanding of the (inductive and deductive) reasoning process would realize that his "brilliant" contention is flawed. He stresses that no one could have predicted the current Financial Crisis, which is absurd because knowledgeable people clearly saw it coming years before; his position that no one could foresee growth of internet, or the rise of Google, are equally ridiculous. Going by Taleb's "ingenious viewpoint" none of us should go to work because we can be run-over by a bus on the way; or eat outside, because we can be poisoned to death; or even get up from bed, because we can kill ourselves if we fall the wrong way. Taleb occasionally mentions the greats like Karl Popper and twists their broad philosophical underpinnings to further his own narrow (and many stupid) viewpoints.

"Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence"; yes, we all know that because the idea is thousands of years old which can be traced back to the Greeks. Taleb, who has basically stolen the idea, pretentiously calls it the "Black Swan" to fool his readers. Even elementary statistics students know that many measures in nature do not follow Gaussian distribution, and all of us know that we cannot predict every single thing; we don't need Taleb using 300 pages full of extremely arrogant writing to repeat that.

The language is repetitive, the reading monotonous, and the style overbearing and obnoxious. The author comes off as a miserable, loser-child bullying in the playground. The only reason this gets 2 stars is because of references provided at the end which are quite useful even when partially incorrectly cross-referenced.

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81% of 26 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
19 August 11
It is life altering

This book changed my life forever. Its an essential read for anyone interested in serious reading and not in the Chetan Bhagats of the world.

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88% of 17 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
21 September 13
For you to become wiser and bolder

I have been following Taleb's ideas for sometime through his facebook and youtube pages. There is no question that he is erudite, intellectually bold, arrogant, and skeptical about modernity. Those who deny his views just don't seem get his point. Well, a doctor gets paid when he prescribes a medicine - and not when he asks you to stop taking medicines (which is could be more beneficial). He proposes the "via negativa" approach - that is, when you become aware of "what you should not do" , then "what you should do" part will take care of itself.

The Black Swan is roughly 400 pages long, but the ideas can be compressed to around 200 pages(that's the reason for my 4 stars, else it is 5). I read the book fully because the author has a personality (which the structured-oriented academic types would despise). He is honest and criticizes certain class of people with all his verbal venom.

The central subject of this book is that of the "single rare event" in any area, which is:
* unpredictable before the occurrence
* analyzed and mapped to a cause "after" its occurrence
* bound to completely alter the course of history compared to "all other" events.

Such an event is called a Black Swan event. The idea is simple, and the author wants you to be wise. He points out the myths and the intellectual frauds which the 20th century careerists have been committing (like those in academic research, banking sector, government, journalism and even in the medical field).

In a way, Taleb is in favor of :
* Empiricism & tinkering against the academia
* Entrepreneurs against bankers and bureaucrats
* The wisdom of the ancients against modernity.
* Mild randomness and stressors against artificial stability.
* Decentralized city-states against centralized nation-states.
* Fractals against the Gaussian bell curve

I would say that Taleb has written a powerful book hitting us with some hard realities. The book's content might look like bitter pill, but the patient would need it. You will become wiser reading this book.

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0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
21 August 11
Its Second Edition

The whole world knows this book's awesomeness, needless to say anything about it.

Just that before ordering I was doubtful weather or not its 2nd edition, but it is the Second Edition. If you look closely at the book's image, at the top-right corner over the blue circular background its written that the book is 2nd edition.

This same book is also available from Random House (original publisher), see this:
www.flipkart.com/books/081297381x?affid=setu2kxyah

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5 of 9 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
21 October 13
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certified buyer
Reality cannot be platonic

Platonic models which are used in financial markets are too theoretical whose assumptions just seems unreal and therefore they cannot predict they just can't. Ltcm,Russian debt crisis, credit crisis all came like a black swan as they were all unpredicatable, had great impact, and were very rare events. How can we project future using history it's just out of question and history can be explained in a variety of infinit explanations but we can't figure out the factual explanation that really led to the historical events then how can we project the future using those historical data when we don't know the actual cause of their occurence?beautiful book with a lot of dep content and something to think about.

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.

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★★★★★
★★★★★
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Book is worth reading for all those in risk taking business

Love the way, the author explore few improbable events that occurred in history.
& how some of the people in thinking...

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27 March 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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The Black Swan

This book is a must read for those looking out on inspiration,introspection and self help sections. It talks about all the aspe...

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25 March 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
AJ
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Worth reading

it demands patience and if you have it, reading this is interesting. in terms of information, this book is quite rich. this may...

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01 February 14
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Great Service by Flipkart

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Great service,without having to go to the l...

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19 January 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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Gives you a different outlook of the world

The book impacts you in a very practical way. It lets you understand the real meaning of the world 'improbable' and how it is f...

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11 December 13
    Book: The Black Swan : The Impact of the Highly Improbable by
    ISBN Number: 0141034599, 9780141034591, 978-0141034591

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