Daily Kos: The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: A review

The short:  I enjoyed the book and found it hard to put down.   It challenged some of my thinking and changed the way that I look at things.

What I didn't like:  the book was very inefficient; he could have conveyed the same message in about 1/3 of the pages.  

But:  the fluff/padding was still interesting; the author has a sense of humor and writes in an entertaining style.

What is the gist of the book?  Well, the lessons are basically these:

  1. Some processes lend themselves to being mathematically modeled, others don't.   Unfortunately, some people use mathematical models in situations where it is inappropriate to do so (e. g., making long term forecasts about the economy).  People who rely too much on mathematical modeling are caught unprepared (or just plain surprised) when some situation arises that wasn't considered possible in the mathematical model (e. g., think of a boxer getting in a fight with someone who grabs, kicks and bites).

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