Dolly's Reviews > The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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's review
Dec 11, 09

bookshelves: 2009, afghanistan, english, germany, greece-greek, france-french, italy, library, new-england, nonfiction, other-usa, scotland-scottish, turkey, russia, the-netherlands, religion-philosophy, africa, arabic-arabia, education-school
Recommended for: fans of Richard Dawkins, James Gleick, and Malcolm Gladwell
Read from December 07 to 11, 2009, read count: 1

This is an interesting book. I like the idea of empirical skepticism, but I'm not sure that I will ever be able to embrace it wholly. I am not afraid to admit that I like patterns, I like predictability, I like stability...I understand so much more now about our erroneous desire to make things fit Gaussian bell curves, even when its inappropriate to do so. I will never read a mutual fund prospectus or annual report the same way again nor will I ever trust an economic forecast. But I think that this book opened my eyes in a good way, too. Despite the arrogant and aggressive way he presents his material, he offers some really salient points and I especially liked a phrase from the last chapter:

"In refusing to run to catch trains, I have felt the true value of elegance and aesthetics in behavior, a sense of being in control of my time, my schedule, and my life. Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that's what you are seeking."

Overall, I liked his anecdote-filled narratives and I laughed out loud at some of his sarcastic witticisms. I did not understand all of the technical bits, but I enjoyed the book as a whole.

new words: salutary, gestalt, vitiate, polymathic
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12/01/2009 page 26
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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Sounds a lot like Malcolm Gladwell. I'll put it on my list, but that list is so darn long.

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