If you want to listen to some big vocabulary , and find out that you can't predict anything and that there is no sense in planning something than listen to this book if not, save yourself some time and listen to “Outliers “ by Maxwell
I don't know where they found the narrator of the book, he must be a friend of Taleb, because the way he narrates it's as if he's the embodiment of Taleb himself only 50% more douchey. I kept imagining him on top of a horse dressed as a foppish dandy.
I enjoyed the message and his thesis as I am an engineer and we use bell curves (i.e. Six Sigma) to show as if we can explain randomness in data and prove that we fixed a problem. While it is useful in explaining if something was improved, but there are so many other tricks that you can play that even if you did nothing, you could still show that you improved a process. I am guilty of using these little tricks like adjusting my standard deviation by moving the data set around, but what a crock the whole thing is. It just gives managers something to masturbate to.
The topic has lots of promise, but Taleb's execution is amateurish. The failure to synthesize and join threads is his biggest failing. And most annoying is that it is an autobiography in disguise. There are way too many personal anecdotes that end up clouding the points he is making.
At the end of the day you want an audiobook to be so compelling that you can't take your headphones off. I found that I had to force myself to get through it by erasing everything else off of my iPod; always hoping that Taleb would finally deliver a few minutes of memorable brillance that never came.
Professional librarian type, amateur historian.
I kept hearing the term 'black swans' on one of my favorite podcasts I figured I should give the book a try. It is informative and good, and I agreed with the author on certain points but it didn't fall under that 'can't stop listening' category of audiobooks, so thus less than 5 stars. The author's arrogant attitude was a negative .5 star and so rounding down this is a three star book for me. Listen then erase to save valuable space.
The arrogance and self-righteousness of the author completely negates his message for me. Not to mention that it's a full 40 minutes in intro and preface before the first chapter starts! He tells you what he's going to tell you, what he's going to cover in the chapters ahead, how he's going to lay out his arguments, then he repeats it again. I'm guessing that's because he thinks everyone is too stupid to understand what he's going to say. I gave up after an hour. There are too many good books out there to listen to. I give him the benefit of the doubt and give it 2 stars because I haven't finished it. The part I have heard isn't even worth one star.
This book is about philosophy, deep thinking and self-reflection. It does not have trading tips or predictions about the economy. It is about a paradigm that isn't considered in every day life; consideration of black swan events. There are many analogies to finance and criticisms of economics and policy. Yes, it is very negative. Yes, he comes across as pompous and arrogant. And yes, after awhile you get his point. But I must admit that this book opened my mind to new concepts and points of view. I see events in the market place and in my current field much differently now. If you like to think about abstract, philosophical ideas, then this is a good book. If you do not enjoy the act of thinking, then do not read this book.
Yes, the thesis is interesting, and in essence it's quite interesting. But he just goes on and on expostulating and expounding, repeating himself. It could all be said in about half the space (at most) and nothing would be missing. At the start I found it interesting. At the end I was just so tired of it I wanted him to finally stop.
I agee with many of the comments and won't expand.
While I enjoyed the book I am shocked that an editor would allow so much narcissism of any author to show through. It substantially detracted from the books content. A compounding error was made in the narration by not reducing the sarcasm quotient with softened less cyncial voice inflection.
As others have remarked, Taleb has an ego.
A friend joked that he was "supposed to meet with Taleb who couldn't make it...he sent God in his place."
Overall, a great message and an important argument to add to your view of the world.
Side note: I do find it unseemly that the publisher of this audiobook (Recorded Books) found it necessary to pimp a book about global warming at the end.
I don't mind a company promoting its wares in general, but for Recorded Books to do so for a book on such a controversial topic is unwelcome for the myriad readers who may not agree with the stance they support.
Tell us about yourself!
Priding myself of a large vocabulary, Taleb's large, numerous words and complex analysis was unnecessary. No doubt there were some great and salient points, but waded deep to get'em. Some interesting points and obviously the credit for the expression "the black swan." He could have distilled his message in half the length with twice the effectiveness. Someday I will have to read the abridged version to find out.