The Black Swan

Old Mar 6th 2009, 8:05 am
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Default The Black Swan

Anyone read this book on BE ? would be intersted to hear if you would reccomend. Just read an article on arabian buisness about the author (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Taleb) seems to be 'ahead of the game' in relation to the financial crisis...
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Old Mar 6th 2009, 8:11 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

Originally Posted by Foxes View Post
Anyone read this book on BE ? would be intersted to hear if you would reccomend. Just read an article on arabian buisness about the author (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Taleb) seems to be 'ahead of the game' in relation to the financial crisis...
He attended and did a session at last weeks Emirates International Festival of literature last week. Very interesting slot to be honest, I havent read his book but had some valid points to make
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Old Mar 6th 2009, 8:22 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

Too philosophical - youtube his mate roubini who sometimes appears with him.

Or the entertaining but smart max kaiser.
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Old Mar 6th 2009, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: The Black Swan

It´s a very acclaimed book, the fact that his thesis was proven right within a year didn´t hurt either.
I agree with much of his musings which is a bit worrying if you are found of contemporary western society which he thinks sort of lack the ability to roll with the punches because we have built our lifes around the idea that the matrix can´t be broken.

But it´s refreshing with an investor philosopher for a change..
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Old Mar 7th 2009, 8:44 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

thanks guys - might look at one of his previous books which apparently is an easier read and does focus on the guys ego as much !!
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Old Mar 8th 2009, 7:19 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

Originally Posted by Foxes View Post
thanks guys - might look at one of his previous books which apparently is an easier read and does focus on the guys ego as much !!
"The black swan" is a good philosophical book. Doesn't seem strange therefore that it deals with philosophy. Not boring, not easy (but how could it be, seen its topic?) and totally crashing against our current way of believing in our ideas, I mean believing enough to put money on it.

How do we "know" that the value of a share will go up or down? Is there such a thing as a "forecast", can we truly, even partially "see" the future? How "bad" is our attitude to fall for narrative fallacy, or to trust a perfect idiot, as long as it appears on TV and speaks in a confident way of "the economy", etc?

It appears that our skeptic ancestors didn't really succeed in leaving us a solid attitude to use our brain and good sense versus "having faith", "believing" and so on and so forth. Therefore we're bound to fail, if we don't change our attitude towards the known unknown and, especially, towards the unknown unknown! Great book, I'm looking for its predecessor, "Fooled by Randomness", but I'll read it in Europe!

One nice little picture extracted from the book: the life of the turkey. The life of the turkey is a good life, it gets fed for a while, and based on those feeding days experience, little will it know about future days if not that they are a repetition of the previous ones, which is, well, partially true. They fed me yesterday and the day before, they're "therefore" going to feed me tomorrow.
The graphic of the good life of the turkey is a pretty boring straight line.
Until Thanksgiving.
Which he couldn't possibly expect, an "unknown unknown", or a "black swan", in the words of the author.

Has anybody else truly read the book?
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Old Mar 8th 2009, 7:48 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

Originally Posted by GrecoRomano View Post
"The black swan" is a good philosophical book. Doesn't seem strange therefore that it deals with philosophy. Not boring, not easy (but how could it be, seen its topic?) and totally crashing against our current way of believing in our ideas, I mean believing enough to put money on it.

How do we "know" that the value of a share will go up or down? Is there such a thing as a "forecast", can we truly, even partially "see" the future? How "bad" is our attitude to fall for narrative fallacy, or to trust a perfect idiot, as long as it appears on TV and speaks in a confident way of "the economy", etc?

It appears that our skeptic ancestors didn't really succeed in leaving us a solid attitude to use our brain and good sense versus "having faith", "believing" and so on and so forth. Therefore we're bound to fail, if we don't change our attitude towards the known unknown and, especially, towards the unknown unknown! Great book, I'm looking for its predecessor, "Fooled by Randomness", but I'll read it in Europe!

One nice little picture extracted from the book: the life of the turkey. The life of the turkey is a good life, it gets fed for a while, and based on those feeding days experience, little will it know about future days if not that they are a repetition of the previous ones, which is, well, partially true. They fed me yesterday and the day before, they're "therefore" going to feed me tomorrow.
The graphic of the good life of the turkey is a pretty boring straight line.
Until Thanksgiving.
Which he couldn't possibly expect, an "unknown unknown", or a "black swan", in the words of the author.

Has anybody else truly read the book?
The turkey? the gobbledegook?...don't you think he might have wondered where all his pals were disappearing to?
No such thing as a free lunch..........
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Old Mar 8th 2009, 8:05 am
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Smile Re: The Black Swan

Originally Posted by GrecoRomano View Post
Has anybody else truly read the book?
Yes. I shan't be recommending it to friends.

It's difficult to pin down an objective opinion when you read a book with so many pages filled with so little useful information but basically it's a book where the author seems to imply that the reader isn't bright enough to understand a normal distribution curve.

It comes nowhere near supplanting "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" as my favorite book on the same subject .
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Old Mar 8th 2009, 10:19 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

Originally Posted by Charismatic View Post
Yes. I shan't be recommending it to friends.
Why? As they say for Elvis, so many people can't be wrong! Don't underestimate your friends...
It's difficult to pin down an objective opinion when you read a book with so many pages filled with so little useful information
It ain't a self-help book, maybe the paperback edition fooled someone into thinking so. But I didn't see the: "How to get rich avoiding unforeseen and unforeseeable catastrophes".

but basically it's a book where the author seems to imply that the reader isn't bright enough to understand a normal distribution curve.
The author states laud and clear that evidences are overwhelming about the fact that we don't know even WHEN to use a normal distribution.

It comes nowhere near supplanting "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" as my favorite book on the same subject .
I'd recommend than that you stick to books and authors whose scope and depth you can grasp entirely.
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Old Mar 8th 2009, 10:35 am
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Default Re: The Black Swan

Originally Posted by Eva View Post
The turkey? the gobbledegook?...don't you think he might have wondered where all his pals were disappearing to?
I'm not sure that poultry does actually "wonder", but, even if: after the FIRST world war we didn't escape having a SECOND one, and we're considered (by ourself, mainly), the "smart ones", among animals.

No such thing as a free lunch..........
Eheheh, well, you can say there are, thanks goodness. It's a closed universe, and it's Istant Karma!
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Old Mar 8th 2009, 10:51 am
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Smile Re: The Black Swan

It's very popular at the moment .

Something that many investors learn early is not to worry about unforeseeable events, you invest with the information you can get and don't worry about whats unknowable . In the long term the ups and downs even each other out, you just worry about tangible and quantitative information. I don't know what the BoE will make the interest rate in 18 months time and neither does any one else. If anyone could model the future in even a slightly more accurate way they'd be rolling in money not sitting in front of a typewriter.

If there was one thing I'd (reluctantly) agree with him about it's that many statistical measures fail to offer any additional useful information about an underlying asset or future event. This is a lesson a lot of folk forget quickly .

I'll leave it to IndieG, Meow etc. to comment further. They are the folk who really know what they are talking much better than I do .
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