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Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a New Section: "On Robustness and Fragility"

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yetcauses massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Talebshows in a playful way that black swan events explain almost everything aboutour world.

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Book Information

Publisher: Random House Trade
Publish Date: 05/11/2010
Pages: 480
ISBN-13: 9780812973815
ISBN-10: 081297381X
Language: English

What We're Saying

May 02, 2011

ChangeThis preparations and office birthday celebrations kept me from posting links on Friday, so I thought I'd remedy that by rustling some up for y'all this afternoon. ➻ "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. " So begins Allen Ginsberg's "Howl. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 06, 2007

We've been in Chicago for the past two days for our second annual Author Pow-wow. I'll write more on that soon. There's much to share. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 13, 2007

Another list is out: Amazon's Best Books of 2007! You can see the categories by Editors' Picks, Customers' Favorites, the Top 100. . READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 19, 2007

Love the lists

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Gotta love this time of year. Lots of lists. As is true in business book publishing. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 12, 2007

I have always appreciated BusinessWeek's commitment to the category of business books. The magazine reviews books in each issue and publish its monthly business book bestseller list. Continuing in their support, here are the slideshow of books BusinessWeek choose in 2007 as their Best Business Books of the Year: In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India by Edward Luce Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia by Joe Studwell The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to Do About It) by Michael E. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 27, 2007

I think AdAge jumped the gun a bit in their accusation that Conde Nast's new business magazine, Portfolio, was going light on their book reviews. I think their coverage is through, critical, and refreshing. Roger Lowenstein (When Genius Failed) wrote an extensive review of Taleb's The Black Swan. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 27, 2007

links for 2007-04-27

By 800-CEO-READ

Stealing Your Life >> The Dangers of Identity Theft | INC. Magazine "Nobody knows the ins and outs of identity fraud better than Frank Abagnale [who Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed in Catch Me If You Can]. . READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 07, 2016

Michele Wucker's new book helps us avoid crisis by engaging more thoroughly with reality, recognizing obvious threats and our own biases, and working to overcome them. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

April 22, 2008

PW 2007 Bestsellers

By 800-CEO-READ

Publishers Weekly released its bestseller list late last month. A Thousand Splendid Suns topped the fiction category, while The Secret took the top nonfiction spot. But, those books get enough love, so we thought we would list the business titles that show up on the list (they list all books that sold over 100,000 copies in calender year 2007). READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 26, 2010

The Quants

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I've not yet finished reading Scott Patterson's The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It, but I'd like to go on record now in disagreement with The Economist's review of the book. I do agree that Patterson's prose can get a bit "purple" in places, but I think his focus on the quantitative models developed and used on Wall Street over the last three decades is an important one. And the way he explores the topic—through the stories of the individuals who created those models—keeps the reader engaged in a tale that might otherwise turn too academic for most. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 25, 2007

This morning Financial Times and Goldman Sachs revealed the semifinalist titles in the running of being named their Business Book of the Year. Judges will determine the final winner on October 25. The list is as follows: Zoom by Iain Carson and Vijay V Vaitheeswaran The Last Tycoons by William D Cohan The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan Immigrants by Philippe Legrain The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams Good luck! READ FULL DESCRIPTION

August 10, 2007

Dubner and Levitt have been quite busy this week. On Monday, the NYT welcomed their blog with open arms. If you're a fan of their blog, be sure to change your RSS feed. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 09, 2009

There are only a few people in the media who know business books as well as Jack and I. Hardy Green, an associate editor at BusinessWeek, is one of those people. We met with Hardy in New York two weeks ago and he quickly commenced with critiquing our selections for The 100 Best. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 01, 2007

I just started reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan and I think it is wonderful. The former Wall Street trader writes about outliers in the world (9/11, 1929 Market Crash, etc). He says Black Swans have three characteristics: rarity, extreme impact, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 23, 2010

This week we have an excerpt from The Bed of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. You may remember Taleb from his bestselling The Black Swan or his first book, Fooled by Randomness. Taleb is a big thinker, and The Bed of Procrustes is a collection of "philosophical and practical aphorisms" from the author. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 14, 2007

Visit our Excerpts Blog to read an excerpt from The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Here are a few of the media hits Taleb has received: Wired Magazine The Wall Street Journal Financial Times And here's what we've written about it on our site: My Review of Portfolio's Book Reviews The Black Swan - Few and Far Between From the book: What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 13, 2007

Another List

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Rebecca pointed us all to Amazon's Best Books of 2007 last month, and in light of all the other lists coming out lately, I thought it'd be a good idea to revisit that list and highlight the business titles on it. There were three business categories--Business, Business Narratives, and Finance & Investing. So without further ado, the choice of Amazon's editors were. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 13, 2012

This morning I perused the Amazon Top 100 for 2012. A few of our favorite books that made the top 20: Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise; Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit (our JCS review here); and Susan Cain's Quiet (our take here. ) Rounding out the top 40 is a book that's been sitting on my desk for awhile, daring me to crack it open: Nassim Nicolas Taleb's Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

October 29, 2007

With 66 bookstores in airports all over North America, you may know Hudson Booksellers from your travels. They have now decided that it is time to help busy travelers select the books they sell, announcing their picks of the best books of 2007. It's a pretty long list, with selections in the fields of fiction, non-fiction, children's, and--aha! READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 14, 2007

The Black Swan

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The following is an excerpt from The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. ON THE PLUMAGE OF BIRDS  Before the discovery of Australia, people in the old world were convinced that all swans were white, an unassailable belief as it seemed completely confirmed by empirical evidence. The sighting of the first black swan might have been an interesting surprise for a few ornithologists (and others extremely concerned with the coloring of birds), but that is not where the significance of the story lies. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 07, 2012

Paper Promises

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Our economic lives could literally stop on a dime. All it would take is an agreement redefining what a dime is, or is worth, backed by or tied to. It's happened before, and The Economist's "Buttonwood" columnist Philip Coggan believes it will inevitably happen again as the great international play of creditors and debtors enters its next act. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

May 09, 2014

"How do you not delude yourself with a story about your business but stay focused on the vision you have for it five years down the road? " ~Ryan Holiday READ FULL DESCRIPTION

December 16, 2008

Jack and Todd will soon have the definitive list of the best business books of all time published, but, in the meantime, here is what The Independent's Sean O'Grady has to say on the matter. He chooses from both "timeless classics [and] the latest crop of credit crunch chronicles. " It's an interesting list because it's from a newspaper that leans to the left side of the British political spectrum, providing a perspective from the side of the aisle that doesn't speak up on business books as often. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don't understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible." For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, "On Robustness and Fragility," which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book--itself a black swan. Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"The most prophetic voice of all."--GQ

Praise for The Black Swan "[A book] that altered modern thinking."--The Times (London) "A masterpiece."--Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail

"Idiosyncratically brilliant."--Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times

"The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works."--Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate "[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy."--The Wall Street Journal

"Hugely enjoyable--compelling . . . easy to dip into."--Financial Times

"Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition."--The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.

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