Friday, September 13, 2013

Black Swan

I recently started to read 'The Black Swan' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It is very interesting.

There is a story that no one could accept the idea of a black swan until one was spotted in Australia. It seems to be built in to our human experience that we base our understanding of the future on our understanding of the past and this is good until something unexpected happens. Imagine the turkey before Christmas, every morning when the sun comes up he gets fed, until Christmas morning ...

There seems to be a clatter of examples of people who cannot accept the idea of failure until it happens to them, we seem to have a deep misunderstanding of risk, especially the following quote from a person familiar to all those from Belfast:

"But in all my experience, I have never been in any accident ...of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort."

E. J. Smith, 1907, Captain, RMS Titanic

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