Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb - Book Review

Source Youtube :This is a book review on the bestsellers, "Black Swan" and "Fooled by Randomness" by Nassim Taleb, sponsored by

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 dont 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. Now, in this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we dont know. He offers surprisingly simple tricks for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them.Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications The Black Swan will change the way you look at the 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. The Black Swan is a landmark bookitself a black swan.

In this extraordinary book, Nassim Taleb evaluates the human mind and ironically finds it to be... a lousy evaluator! In the authors words, this is a book about luck disguised and perceived as non-luck...and, more generally, randomness disguised and perceived as non-randomness. In other words, human beings have a desire to understand their world, and this desire flows into the unknown and finds ways to make sense of it, illogical though they may be. We generally see the world as more explainable than it really is, and find reasons where there are none—or none that we truly understand. Using concepts such as survivorship bias and counter-intuitive distributions, Taleb illustrates some of the many ways these mistakes happen. Talebs style can be a bit brusque at times. He loves his society, and is impatient for people to see it more clearly but to do so, in his opinion, they must change their ideas about how it works. He makes up for his impatience with charming, personal stories and humorous tidbits about logic (and the lack of it) in the world around him. At 196 pages, Fooled by Randomness is only the beginning of a conversation about a very complex topic. It makes a fascinating start. This book will challenge how you think about luck, logic, and decisions.

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