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  • The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility"

  • Incerto, Book 2
  • By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Narrated by: Joe Ochman
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (215 ratings)

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The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility" cover art

The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility"

By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Narrated by: Joe Ochman
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Publisher's Summary

The Black Swan is a stand-alone 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, Skin in the Game, 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.

Includes a bonus pdf of tables and figures.

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)

“Hugely enjoyable - compelling...easy to dip into.” (Financial Times)

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2010 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Engaging.... The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“[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

The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works.” (Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate)

  “Idiosyncratically brilliant.” (Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times

What listeners say about The Black Swan, Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility"

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full of insights

it is map for how to live a life nothing short of it. it is not complete . i wish i had this when i was much younger

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3 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking, highly enjoyable work

I was meant to listen to this book whike doing mundane chores, but found myself so captivated, everything else had to stop. Little gems of humour garnish the intellectual journey with delight. I learned a great deal doing research on topics mentioned also.

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    4 out of 5 stars

I’m a black swan believer

Content was great. Covered all the key points. The only suggestion is to cull the book down. Whilst the author spends a lot of time being critical of academia (justifiable) he spends an undue amount of his time demonstrating his views by by using academic reasoning. Anyway, it is a great book. Most relevant today.

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entertaining

enjoyed this thoroughly. quite a bit of it went over my head but entertaining to listen to

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Dense for the layman

It’s a hard to follow along with book. Need to hear it several times over to grasp the knowledge

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enlightening

So much to take in. Worth going through again. Plenty of sound bytes worth remembering.

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  • Tim
  • 21-12-2021

Excellente!!!!

This book really turned my life upside down in an exciting way and put a lot of things into perspective.
Will be reading a 2nd perhaps 3rd and 4th time!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Taleb doesn't disappoint

"You are a Black Swan" - brilliant. My 4th Taleb book, he remains my favourite thinker.

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A tough book

This is a book I will need a paper copy of, to read again, with a pen to write in the margins, and despite my command of the English language, a dictionary. I will also need Google and some books on statistics (despite having studied it in an Engineering degree). Yes, I am one of those engineers. I also dress like an Australian. I have come away with a distrust of predictions, economists, politicians and the Gaussian. Maybe some of that was already there abd has now been reinforced. I have read Danny Kahneman's book, another tough but worthy read. And I am going to have to read Seneca in English.

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    5 out of 5 stars

A necessary read.

A valuable book for anyone who has an interest in insuring they have an understanding of the limits of the knowledge which they intend to apply.

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