We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Black Swan Audiobook

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Regular Price:$27.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.

©2007 Nassim Nicholas Taleb; (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"[Taleb] administers a severe thrashing to MBA- and Nobel Prize-credentialed experts who make their living from economic forecasting." (Booklist)
"The hubris of predictions - and our perpetual surprise when the not-predicted happens - are themes of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's engaging new book....It concerns the occurrence of the improbable, the power of rare events and the author's lament that 'in spite of the empirical record we continue to project into the future as if we were good at it.'" (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2869 )
5 star
 (1262)
4 star
 (859)
3 star
 (431)
2 star
 (182)
1 star
 (135)
Overall
4.1 (1618 )
5 star
 (791)
4 star
 (436)
3 star
 (236)
2 star
 (89)
1 star
 (66)
Story
4.1 (1623 )
5 star
 (740)
4 star
 (519)
3 star
 (246)
2 star
 (72)
1 star
 (46)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    julie & richard mendel wayne, pa USA 12-29-14
    julie & richard mendel wayne, pa USA 12-29-14 Member Since 2014

    Theodore Roosevelt's "The Man in the Arena" & Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters: Po Lo's account of the dun-colored mare @deadgametheory

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    84
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful ideas arise from the page."
    Where does The Black Swan rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Black Swan is one of the best books I had read in years, and so I wanted to be able to listen to it as well. I thought that the narration was excellent, and listening to it several times seemed to better prepare me for the way in which Nassim Taleb reconstructs and further refines his ideas for AntiFragile.


    What other book might you compare The Black Swan to and why?

    The only works that I know of are Nassim Taleb's other work. Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan become reference material to be looked back upon after hearing AntiFragile.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Realizing how oblivious most of us are in regard to the exposure we have to "rare" events.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to it in a very compressed amount of time, but I had already read it, and given quite a bit of thought. It is certainly really engaging.


    Any additional comments?

    Really a tremendously good investment of my time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Hilo, HI, United States 11-03-14
    Carroll Hilo, HI, United States 11-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    219
    126
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good way to summarize the surprises of the world"

    While a bit disjointed in the order of delivery, the author has a VERY valid thesis that is often overlooked in the American culture's view of what the world should look like... a hard listen for some, but a key point to remember for all business men & warriors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B Oak Lawn, IL, United States 04-27-14
    B Oak Lawn, IL, United States 04-27-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thought provoking, but very indulgent"

    The good: Taleb discusses some very interesting ideas. He is able to clearly articulate some abstract thoughts that I had sorta circled around in the past, but was never able to truly grasp or explain. The core ideas he states are the kind that can actually change your perspective of the world.

    The bad: He is very pretentious and self-indulgent. Take this particular quote for example: "This argument, known as Hempel's raven paradox, was rediscovered by my friend the (thinking) mathematician Bruno Dupire during one of our intense meditating walks in London—one of those intense walk-discussions, intense to the point of our not noticing the rain. He pointed to a red Mini and shouted, 'Look, Nassim, look! No Black Swan!'". Apparently, he's so enlightened that he getting rained on doesn't even register with him? And he says this as a casual aside. Keep in mind, this anecdote kinda comes out of nowhere, is never brought up again, and doesn't even really illustrate the point he's trying to make. It's just obnoxious. There are a few different things like this too: he name drops obscure philosophers as though the average reader will be familiar with them, he lists a series of thoughts in Latin (saying "primo, secondo, terso" instead of "first, second, third"), brings up cocktail parties as though they're a weekly occurrence for most people, and so on. Weirdly, he insults people who are pretentious several times in the book.

    In another bit of irony, he rallies against platonicities (basically, concepts that oversimplify more complicated and abstract realities). Yet, throughout the book, he invents dozens of new terms that seem to be oversimplifying things.

    The narrator, for better or worse, seems to match the author's tone. He's very droll and tends to come off dismissive of others.

    The book is all over the place. First, it's about him growing up in Lebanon, then he discusses a historical event, then he's using one metaphor, then another. There's a story he, at first, presents as though it was an actual account of author. Then a chapter later, he says it isn't. Then, he calls back to an earlier metaphor. It goes from math to philosophy to economics. It all becomes a blur. This book made me appreciate the writing of Malcolm Gladwell a lot more.

    Overall: if you're very interested, check it out. I would recommend Nate Silver's "The Signal and the Noise" or something by Malcolm Gladwell before this though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Raanana, Israel 03-31-14
    Shawn Raanana, Israel 03-31-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Important ideas, but terribly written"

    The book's ideas are very important, but the author is so self-important, and the book is so poorly organized you can miss the point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noah New York, New York 03-03-14
    Noah New York, New York 03-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    133
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    170
    63
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sounds smarter than it is"
    What disappointed you about The Black Swan?

    The tiny shards of real insight are lost in the ocean of pseudo-intellectual windbaggery.


    Has The Black Swan turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. There are great ones out there.


    What character would you cut from The Black Swan?

    The author? Heh.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    See Reverse 01-06-14
    See Reverse 01-06-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling Ideas - Understanding the Unexpected"
    Would you listen to The Black Swan again? Why?

    I'd like to listen to the Black Swan one more time to drive home some points that I didn't take note of the first time through - I'll definitely listen on a faster than normal narration speed, though.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The idea of true uncertainty, our compulsion to explain it in simple retrospective stories, and our inherent limitations has changed my perspective of our world.


    What about David Chandler’s performance did you like?

    David Chandler comes across as if he were the author of the Black Swan - he seems to care deeply about the material, and portrays the author's point of view. After seeing Nassim Nicholas Taleb give a speech online, however, I do think Chandler is a bit more over the top than the author would have done himself.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This is a well thought out book - thank you for taking time to write this, Mr. Taleb.


    Any additional comments?

    I love the ideas contained in this book - they are unique relative to my academic background, and well worth covering in some depth beyond how they are covered in this book. The author's style seems a bit pompous at times, but it doesn't detract from the main ideas.

    My biggest gripe with the book is the constant self referencing that occurs through the book. In one chapter he'll tell you about learning more in another chapter, or he'll tell you he'll go into more detail later, or he'll give you a name of a behavior that will be discussed later. I would have preferred to experience the ideas in a more natural environment. I feel that the author was trying to cover more material than could reasonably fit into this book - something like a trailer for a movie does when trying to fit a much longer novel's worth of material into a specific length of time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert A. Bernard Jr Lehigh Acres, Florida USA 12-18-13
    Robert A. Bernard Jr Lehigh Acres, Florida USA 12-18-13

    Cand3la

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Probability of the Improbable"
    What about David Chandler’s performance did you like?

    David Chandler was very engaging in this book.


    Any additional comments?

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb views on the Black Swan phenomenon were eye-opening. Just because you only see white swan does not mean that all swans are white. This book explains that not all events are predictable.Great read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Brady Oakland, CA United States 11-27-13
    Scott Brady Oakland, CA United States 11-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I hated this book"

    I thought I was getting an interesting analysis of long tail risk issues. I got an incoherent rambling set of anecdotes that are fiction (but not clearly disclosed as such) in some sort of pseudo-Socratic philosopher format. I loved books like "The Big Short" and "The Greatest Trade Ever"...this was not like those books. This was one of the very few audible books I have ever not finished. To be clear, I listened to most of it. The concept is great: unexpected events happen more often that you would think. However, that is the extent of the insight of this book. It is not about finance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Martin Ithaca, NY United States 10-09-13
    Sarah Martin Ithaca, NY United States 10-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meh"

    Was really hoping to enjoy this, but just couldn't get into it. Love research in this niche and typically burn through them, feeling as though I've come away better educated about human behavior, decision-making, and situational influences. This book jumped all over the place, was a little self-aggrandizing, and quickly became a chore to get through. Costs outweighed benefits, and I called it a day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky 09-04-13
    Becky 09-04-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a narcissistic windbag"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Focus on the black swan phenomenon rather than on the author's presumed intellectual superiority.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson


    What three words best describe David Chandler’s voice?

    serviceable


    What character would you cut from The Black Swan?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    Waste of my time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.