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Thread: Black Swan: By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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    Resident Pontificator Array Loxley's Avatar
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    Black Swan: By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    This book was as stimulating as it was difficult…….I’m glad I read it, I got a lot from it.

    Briefly: It concerns our attitudes and mistakes about predicting the future, essentially it is impossible! The book is very abstract, that’s why it’s a tough read, but if you read it you may (as I did) derive the following points: -

    Rather than focusing on what we know, we ought to be focusing on what we don't know

    Empirical naivety (as demonstrated beautifully on this board) is about trying to validate your point of view/idea/theory by looking for supporting evidence (In the soap box case, cut and paste articles that are either other peoples opinions, other examples of empirical naivety or short term media snapshots devoid of wider context).

    What you ought to be doing, is looking for evidence to disprove your idea to test how its stands up, only then are you on the path to knowing what's going on.

    It takes a brave and self-confident person to say, "I don't know!" where society demands certainty, history shows that life is anything but certain. A black Swan is an event of low predictability and high consequence.

    Looking at past data to predict the future is a fallacy.

    Reading the news and keeping up with media actually decreases your awareness of what's going on.

    Modern economics (i.e. what you get on market reports, Bloomberg and other such shows) is nothing but intellectual fraud dressed up in mathematics designed to bore and confuse people from asking the real questions.

    Sorry this is just my take on it, you are welcome for a cut and paste review elsewhere, I thought some of the board thinkers would benefit from this one (I would consider a swap if anybody has anything of interest)

    The world is less linear than we think.
    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." George Orwell

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    I Vill Break You Array Benedict XVI's Avatar
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    The Black Swan.

    I enjoyed this book. I liked Fooled by Randomness a lot also.

    So many points, are what we untuitively do and think and what we observe others doing.
    Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five.

    Benjamin Franklin


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    Möbius Strip Tease Array Anna Key's Avatar
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    I like the sound of this.

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    Holy Diver Array robitusson's Avatar
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    It's great. I bought it in Heathrow to cheer myself up during a 10 hour delay. As Loxley points out it's wonderfully illustrated by this forum.

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    Senior Member Array Robin Friday's Avatar
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    I enjoyed it too. I particularly liked his points on how history is written. How things that were seen as retrospectively inevitable were in fact totally unexpected leading up to the events.

    ---Update---

    Also, the stuff about Wall Street and how the place was essentially populated by a load of bluffing chancers that essentially had as much of a clue about how things would go as you or I.

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    Holy Diver Array robitusson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Friday View Post
    How things that were seen as retrospectively inevitable were in fact totally unexpected leading up to the events.
    Exactly. And it's taken to extremes with conspiracy theories. Helps people make sense of things.

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    swing you sinners! Array Mr. Hales's Avatar
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    tried to read it, couldn't. i ain't that smart. had my brother give me a precis of it in the pub. lots of really inetresting points.
    "vast and black. the thing that was poised, like a crow over the moon. round and smooth. cannon balls. things that have fallen from the sky to this earth. our slippery brains. things like cannon balls have fallen, in storms, upon this earth. like cannon balls are things that, in storms, have fallen to this earth. showers of blood. showers of blood. showers of blood. " c.f.

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    Holy Diver Array robitusson's Avatar
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    Come off it Hales. You said that on the other thread. A lot of it reads like listening to a conversation or someone chatting. There are some lofty ideas but it's easy enough to read and certainly not inaccessible.

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    swing you sinners! Array Mr. Hales's Avatar
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    maybe it was his style mate, didn't like it. seemed rather flippant and over-bearing.

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