Black Swan Review |

Reader Alex passed along his recent The Black Swan book review.

Why Do You Recommend This Book?

The Black Swan made me realize that living a carefully planned out life is a mistake. I remember after I first read the book at the now-closed Borders on Michigan Ave in Chicago while I was still in law school. Afterwards, I walked around outside dazed and confused, and feeling like I’d been living my life all wrong.

What was in the book?

A lot of information, actually, but everything sort of revolves around just a few core principles that stick with me to this day:

  • The events with the greatest impact in your life (Black Swans) are unexpected;
  • They are unexpected because of a variety of cognitive biases; and
  • No matter how hard we try, we will fail to predict these consequential events.

Think back to the biggest events in the U.S. of the past few decades. We’re talking about things like the Internet becoming popular, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, or the Global Financial Crisis. None of these things were expected or predicted. If you read books/articles these days, they all describe a linear history where these things were expected to happen. There’s a ton of hindsight bias in written history, and Taleb gives us more specific details as to why.

Link to full review:

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