The Black Swan

Black Swan-The Impact of the Highly Improbable: A non-fiction written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

It is not an exaggeration for saying that Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable should be considered as one of the most important books in the 21st century. Since we are now living in era in which data, statistics, empiricism and their derivatives play important role in shaping our behavior and the way we think, the book provides insightful remarks on the danger of having such paradigm. It is quite difficult to categorize the book. Its psychological approach upon understanding human behavior has made it impossible to put Black Swan into the class of philosophical book. On the other hand, the presence of superb elucidations on risks and some key concepts in mathematics and statistics makes Black Swan different from a typical book of essays. Indeed, it is a serious book. However, I could say that Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an amazing writer since he is able to evoke his readers’ emotion through the mixing of anecdotes, humor, history, ideas, experience and daily events without missing anything important.

Black Swan seems to contain simple thoughts. However, once I read the book, the way I perceive data and or statistics has totally changed. The world is much more complex – yes, it does – than facts deliver by media, journalists, or even statisticians. I couldn’t disagree more to Taleb when I get the conclusion that being an avid reader of newspapers or constantly watching news on television set will only making me a naïve person – a man that refuses to understand the world beyond the provided information. Believing in data or statistics or media is an entry point in making our own prison in this world. This is the worst prison on earth since it is portable and invisible. It is easy to detect whether you have created your own prison: If you are angry when someone provides information or knowledge different from yours, then you’re at the beginning of being prisoner of your own knowledge. You’ll be a prisoner of your own prison while considering your knowledge as an asset.

The title of the book is provoking one. Almost none in the world believes in the presence of black swan: Most ornithologists think that swan is always present in white. Statistically speaking, black swan is impossible in existent – something that is very different from the actual world. Thus, Nassim Nicholas Taleb suggests that the phrase black swan reflects an event characterized by rarity, extreme impact and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability. It is simple for some, but such event has tremendous impact towards any fields, ranging from business, financial and banking, economy, espionage and intelligence, and even the way we perceive and get along with strangers or common human affairs or even religion.

This book should be present in every house’s library. It is important to have Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable along with your Holybook. Religion tells you the way to heaven, but this book provides insights about how to create heaven on earth by making considerable assessment to your own knowledge. You like it or not, the way we perceive our knowledge defines our maturity.


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