The Black Swan – Book Summary

To understand Black Swan at first, you must comprehend certain critics and opinions by philosophers, experts, and writers in different fields. Thinking is a relative concept that is based on uncertainty and possibilities, critics made by Harold Bloom describe Hamlet’s predicament, not as a concept that implies “Thinking too Much” but rather as one that signifies” The Thinking is ongoing too good,” by not allowing any rest to take place from illusions.” Nassim Nicholas Taleb as a well-known essayist, philosopher, and trader describe today’s economists, gurus, so-called “experts”, bankers and CEOs incompetent to understand black swans, to predict future events and the risk they carry with them. “Black swans” represent highly meaningful, sometimes consequential and unbelievable events that may or may not happen at some point, they also provide future predictions and certain explanations as worst as possible. The book has an unusual analytical style that is kinda personal and literary at some point, but his heterodox and unique perspective can sometimes be rigorous and accurate as well. By combining these several factors you’d come up with a breathtaking, disturbing, antagonistic and unforgettable book based on randomness, spontaneity, and changeability.

Despite Taleb’s clear medical tips, some readers may find the book too harsh at some moments, The Black Swan is intended for persons which are more likely to believe in unproven data that are unsupported by any facts. It also teaches them how to embrace spontaneity and randomness and how they can overcome “black swans” when needed.

Who is this book for

The Black Swan has no particular target group of readers to whom the book is intended. Written and designed for all audiences especially for enthusiasts that are restless and hungry for new knowledge that opposes the traditional way of predicting, forecasting, analyzing, calculating and estimating different events that happened or may happen in the future. Taleb as philosopher tries to confront society’s imposed view with a broader perspective and share it with the public in a concise and succinct way.

Author’s expertise and short biography

Nassim Nicholas Taleb was born in 1960 in Amioun, Lebanon. He is an American-Lebanese essayist, philosopher researcher, trader, and financier who works and dwells in the US. As a polyglot Taleb fluently speaks five languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish and he is also able to read classic Greek and Latin scripts. Currently, he is Dean’s Professor in the Science department at the University of Massachusetts and a professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. Taleb emphasizes the great importance of randomness and as a “skeptical empiricist” believes that all scientists exaggerate the value of logical and analytical explanations of past data and undervalue the real relevance of randomness in those data. His point of view – the past can’t and must not be used to predict the future is shared by lots of skeptical philosophers such as Montaigne, Algazel, Pierre Bayle, and David Hume.
His greatest works are Fooled by Randomness; The Black Swan; The Bed of Procrustes; AntiFragile

Key Lessons from “The Black Swan”

  1. Confront facts, research on your own and expand your knowledge
  2. Luck matters
  3. Different natural phenomena
  4. Is forecasting optional or mandatory business activity

Confront facts, research on your own and expand your knowledge

In the 17 century, the European schoolboys were taught by their teachers that the swans are white. Their theory overlapped with the fact that every swan they examined had a snowy white plumage. Willem de Vlamingh a Dutch explorer was among the first Europeans who set foot in Australia’s wilderness. Without any previous preparations, Vlamingh started his exploring expedition by searching the continent for wildlife and unique ingredients. Soon after he discovered creatures that were not familiar to him nor his crew such as kangaroos, teddy bears – koalas, Australian Dingo and would you know it a black feathered bird that looked exactly like the White Swans in Europe. Detailed observations and investigations were made before Willem de Vlamingh realized that they were Swans just like the ones that he has seen in his homeland, so he challenged the scientists back in Europe to reformulate their beliefs and scientific facts.  

Luck matters

If you think about a story any business story, the first thing that comes to our minds would be the challenges that an average businessman faces during his path. Every story begins in the present or the prosperity that the businessman encounters after so many years of struggle. Afterward, the story takes a step back by reminding us of his humble and penniless beginnings.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb challenges this idiotic concept of making a story by providing a simple sample like when some person becomes a lottery winner and declares that he/she is a genius for choosing that particular number and denying the fact that the number they’ve picked was just a mere luck.

Different natural phenomena

The human mind has been at the very center of unexplored mysteries that intrigued philosophers since ancient times.There’s a saying: There is one Earth but 6 billion of worlds.  Later on, the humans realized that our minds can percept different realities out of one situation. So are you a “Mediocristan” or “Extremistan.”?. These two represent catchy and memorable metaphors for remembering and perceiving two highly divergent rankings of phenomena. The phenomena that can be described falls into the Mediocristan category while the phenomena where a single event or a person that cannot be explained is referred as Extremistan.

Is forecasting optional or mandatory business activity

If you can predict when an aberration may occur and what impact will it have than an Extremistan orientation is not so bad. The problem is that no one can precisely and accurately calculate these phenomena.  To understand this better you may consider Hit Movies or best seller books for example.
Screenwriter or an author may be 100% confident with their work, however, that is not enough to guarantee them fame and early success.

If you feel like this is the book for you, feel free to contact us for further information. You can download our mobile app and share your experiences with us. Between you and your book, there is a one click delay – check it on Amazon

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