Improbabilities, uncertainty and how we feel after reading The Black Swan
The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, was my choice (Cristina) for our recent book-club talk. And, oh boy, agreeing on how we feel about a book has never been more difficult!
A little bit of context, before you get to the talk itself: First of all, this has nothing to do with the movie with the same name. ‘Black Swan’ is the name given to the events that are highly unpredictable (depending on the position of the observer), have a huge impact and, after they happen, it’s in our human nature to rationalize them and find explanations that make them seem less random and more predictable than they really were. The 9/11 attacks are a good example of a black swan.
Released in 2007, this book is part of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s series called “Incerto”, a five-volume essay where he covers the broad faces of uncertainty. Taleb’s a Lebanese-American author, who spent more than two decades as a risk trader before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical and practical problems with probability. He now specializes in the mitigation of tail risk. In 2015, he started the Real World Risk Institute, with a mission to revolutionize education by bringing it closer to the practitioner model.
Taleb refuses all honors and anything that “turns knowledge into a spectator sport”.
In this book-talk-turned-podcast you’ll hear us questioning destiny, human evolution, how we view history and future, and many other philosophical matters:
Other books you might enjoy:
- The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
- Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
- Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
- Dan Ariely – Predictably Irrational
- Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow
P.S. For the upcoming book-club talk we chose Stephen King’s “On Writing“, we’ll record the new episode at the end of June – in case you want to read it at the same time with us.