The Black Swan

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The impact of the highly improbable

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book ‘The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable’.

If someone said that tomorrow is always full of unknowns and risks, you may think that they are being a bit alarmist. However, this was true of September the tenth, two thousand and one. Who could have ever predicted that terrorist attacks would happen the very next day? These events stunned the entire world. That morning, terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners. One of the planes crashed on the ground. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. The sky was filled with clouds of smoke, and both towers collapsed within two hours. The fourth plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington and partially damaged the building. Nobody on those four planes survived. About three thousand people were killed, six hundred more than the victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It can be said that the September eleventh attacks destroyed the entire World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon. But more importantly, it damaged America’s sense of peace and security. What was shocking about the attacks were not only its sudden and disastrous consequences, but also why the Unites States of America, which has the world’s most advanced means of communication and intelligence, failed to predict this long-planned plot.

Now, you may have an idea about what the term “Black Swan” refers to. It indicates an unexpected and impactful event. It’s beyond expectations and brings about immense influence. The September eleven attacks are a typical “Black Swan.” However, if you think that “Black Swans” are limited to national affairs, you are wrong. In fact, “Black Swans” are everywhere. They have an impact on issues ranging from national and social security, to our daily lives. Hence, let’s see what the book ‘The Black Swan’ has to say about why it’s hard to predict a “Black Swan” and how we should cope with the unpredictable future.

The author of this book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is a researcher at the New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He also wrote several bestselling books, such as ‘Fooled by Randomness’, ‘Antifragile’, and ‘Skin in the Game’. In his early years, he was a businessman and dealt with various financial products in New York and London. Now, he serves as a Distinguished Professor at New York University. ‘The Black Swan’ is the epitome of Taleb’s thoughts concerning “uncertainty”, and a book full of prophetic wisdom. Taleb is also known as the “father of the Black Swan” for putting forward the “Black Swan Theory.” Besides enjoying the status of a classic in the socio-cultural field, the book was listed as a bestseller by the New York Times for more than a year and has been published in over thirty languages.

Next, we will deconstruct the core contents of ‘The Black Swan’ in three parts to understand how we can cope with the unpredictable future.

Part One: What are the characteristics of the “Black Swan”?

Part Two: Why can’t we predict the “Black Swan?”

Part Three: How can we cope with the impact of the “Black Swan?”

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