©2007 Nassim Nicholas Taleb; (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC
"[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)
A great eye opener especially for someone who is not familiar with the why the market operates.
It's also a book that would change one's way of viewing human behavior at large.
Great work by Mr. Taled and would also recommend watching some of his lectures on YouTube.
Hayek and Kahneman could use the company.
Taleb has a playful way of discussing profound philosophical ideas that, to this reader, at first seemed facile. Then, about halfway through the book, I suddenly realized that my understanding about a lot of important things was undergoing a paradigm shift. I have read this book probably ten times. I take the book as an antidote to my compulsion to conspire with the world to delude myself. But, of course, probably his most important argument is precisely that there is no antidote.
Years ago I reacted in a similar way to the writings of Hayek and Mises.
Along with Fooled by Randomness, I highly recommend this book. We all could sharpen our knowledge on Black Swans and how they affect our lives. I'm surely less impressed at the success that I see around me - including my own as I have had my own positive Black Swans as we all have as we were born and that is against all of the odds. It's very interesting to me on how we view success or failure in our society in sports, business, Hollywood etc. and then in hindsight create a story about the so called "why" and "how" this or that happened when in reality no one had a clue at the time. It's so easy for us to monday morning quarterback. This book will urge you to THINK.
Yes -- Nassim's book is not necessarily easy to follow, but that is only because he has dedicated his life to this concept, and I've only learned of it from the first pass through the book.
When I realized my own turkey moment -- In June 1996, while stationed in Saudi Arabia, I was injured in a terrorist bombing of our Air Force barracks. Without dying, this was as close as I've come to being the turkey, but more importantly, in realizing that while this represented a black swan event in my life, it would not be viewed as one by the world.
Theodore Roosevelt's "The Man in the Arena" & Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters: Po Lo's account of the dun-colored mare @deadgametheory
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.
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.
Realizing how oblivious most of us are in regard to the exposure we have to "rare" events.
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.
Really a tremendously good investment of my time.
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.
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.
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