Archive for April, 2007

Nicholas Nassim Taleb is popping up everywhere these days due to the publishing of his new book The Black Swan later this month. In Few and Far Between: Black Swans and the Impossibility of Prediction he writes about his thesis that rare catastrophic events (black swans) have a much larger effect on society expects because they are difficult to predict.

It is easy to see that life is the cumulative effect of a handful of significant shocks. It is not so hard to identify the role of Black Swans, from your armchair (or bar stool). go through the following exercise. look into your own existence. Count the significant events, the technological changes, and the inventions that have taken place in our environment since you were born and compare them to what was expected before their advent. How many of them came on a schedule? look into your own personal life, to your choice of profession, say, or meeting your mate, your exile from your country of origin, the betrayals you faced, your sudden enrichment or impoverishment. How often did these things occur according to plan?


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Nicholas Nassim Taleb Interview in Wired

Wired magazine has a short interview between James Surowiecki (who wrote the book The Wisdom of Crowds) and Nicholas Nassim Taleb, dicussing Taleb’s new book The Black Swan. Slate magazine had an interview in 2005 between James Surowiecki and Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point and Blink). And to close the loop, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article in 2002 about Nicholas Nassim Taleb and his book Fooled by Randomness.

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