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.
Most of the things other reviewers have said about the book are true. It is poorly written, redundant, egoist, wandering, unfocused, and twice too long. It is also imprecise, especially statistically. It entirely ignores the Central limit theorem that tends to turn wildly non-Gaussian data into 'bell curves', and he repeatedly implies that there is something wrong with the mathematics when the error is the application of mathematical results to situations in which their assumptions are not met. There are a lot of unsupported generalizations that may not be true. He uses the words knowledge, data and information without the slightest understanding of what they actually are. Nonetheless, …
He is right about a bunch of stuff, in particular the completely irrational and erroneous way that most people process information, and he is correct that this fact dominates our world and our view of it. It is the central fact for modern human kind. The world really is as stupid as Taleb implies, which accounts for why so many people have reacted as they have to his 'narcissism' and 'arrogance'. Indeed, the reviews of the book prove Taleb’s point.
Ok, so what to say … this book is not for many of you, you won’t get it, in no small part because of the author’s bad writing, but for a few it will be an eye opener.
This book takes what many of us traders, advisors and part time speculators have known for years; that when one hears or sees the word expert used in the media, beware.
Without hyperbole or hogwash, Taleb lays out a rock solid case as to why and how the global financial system is largely built on a foundation of fraudulent schemes disguised as high science and knowledge.
Black swans are events that cannot be predicted, but are planned for endlessly AFTER they have occurred. Only to have the experts blindsided by the next black swan.
Taleb doesn't say that we should never take risks, only that we should recognize the various kinds of risks for what they are. This isn't a book on how to trade, or how to make a million dollars, and in fact, it's only barely a book on finance at all.
I've recommended it to many people who have no interest in finance at all simply because his accurate treatment of the fraudulent expert disease we have in the media effects our lives in so many ways.
And by the way, the current financial situation is not a black swan. Read (listen to) the book to find out why.
Perhaps some interesting ideas, even for statisticians, who know that probability is the best we can do -- that is, a good reminder. However, it's hard to hear what the author is saying through his snide, smarter-than-you attitude. It's too bad his insecurities stand out more than his intelligence.
The topic is well developed (in some ways repetitively) and certainly allowed me to consider the previously unappreciated effect of the randomness aspect of life's turns - personally and globally. At the same time, after the issue is supported, there is very little "as a result of this conclusion, we should ..." Left me wanting.
family tree buff
The author was arrogant and inferred that only he and a few select intellects have figured out the meaning of life and the rest of us just don't get it.
He could have presented his theories in an hour or less.
Anyone but David Chandler. He contributed to making me think the author was arrogant.
He could have summed it up in two words - stuff happens.
Worst book I've listened to yet.
This book is good, there're some great concepts in it, but many things in it just repeat over and over again. This book should not be longer than 30 minutes.
A very inspiring Book... which is by itself a Black Swan. It makes one think beyond the oridnary in each of its exceptional chapters.
The reading of David Chandler is excellent, a clear voice, far from monotony. You could listen to him for hours without feeling any nuisance.
It is however unfortunate that the author stayed at the horizontal level in discussing the probable and improbable events, while he could have made in few cases a vertical link to the Karmic law behind the events. Still it is a breakthrough which is highly recommended...
How can the bell curve stay unpunished after this book? After it destroyed the savings and lives of thousands, and still used by 'portfolio manager's to fool us all?