The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable; Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A fine book. It took three failed starts before I finally got in the groove and completed the book. This, for me was a classical case of “you don’t go the books, the books come to you” and similar esotericism.


One problem, about this book, and I wonder how NN Taleb agreed, was its classification as a book on economics. The range of the domains that this book wanders through are many: sociology, history, philosophy, epistemology, science, mathematics, psychology and of course, economics.

The initial pages are a bit daunting for the casual reader, and unless you tune in to the ideas and become more accepting of the author’s arrogance and his personal brand of humour, you may find it difficult to move ahead. And speaking of arrogance, while this book is all about the uncertainty around us, I cannot but think of a quote from Richard Bach’s The Bridge Across Forever: “…but arrogance came from certainty.

But as you go through the book, it becomes obvious that this book does not have a “universal appeal”, like some of the other books in the here’s-something-you-never-thought-of genre. It’s not ‘pop’, so to speak. If you read the full book, you may even understand why. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone. It requires a certain temperament to get past the first thirty pages and then maintain that sensitivity throughout the time that you read it. In short, you should be willing to allow most of the things that you know, to be broken down (even, if later, you don’t agree with the author).

It might even be the case, that all that you quietly held as true, finds expressive form, after you read the book.

You never know.


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