The Black Swan

The Black Swan – Nassim Taleb

Black Swan – Highly Improbably Event

  • Unpredictable
  • Massive Impact
  • Explain after the fact
Scalable Non – Scalable
Much more compensation Paid by Hour
Top takes all Even distribution
Extremistan Mediocristan

Turkey spends its life being fed by farmer. One day its neck is cuto off. This is a black swan to this turkey

Empirical – based on evidence

Erudite – learning through books / studying

Narrative fallacy – vulnerability to over interpertation, preference for compact stories over raw truth

The problem of silent evidence – negative evidence tends not to show up or be counted

Ludic fallacy – uncertainty of the nerd – thinking games match reality – things too much inside the box

Guessing – something you don’t know but someone else may

Predicting – something that hasn’t happened yet

The bell curve can’t handle black swans

Is chaos theory a better way?

The ice cube thought experiment – you can go one way, but not the other

We tend to learn the precise but not the abstract

Umberto Eco’s Library – its about the books not yet read – anti-library

History Ailments –

  1. Illusion of understanding
  2. Retrospective distortion
  3. Over value factual information

Skeptical about confirmation when errors are costly

Single instance of inform can disconfirm – look for this info!

Skeptical with wild randomness

Less so with mild randomness

Very aggressive when exposed to positive black swan

Very conservative about negative black swan

Don’t run for trains – only painful if you run after it