Buy Used
£0.01
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by SNaylerBooks
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Orders shipped daily from the UK. Professional seller.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Hardcover – 3 May 2007

3.4 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews

See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, 3 May 2007
£1,451.07 £0.01

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
click to open popover

Special offers and product promotions


What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; 1st edition (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999952
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

Review

'A deeply intelligent, provocative book ... Taleb succeeds in
bringing sceptical empiricism to the masses' -- The Economist

'A fascinating study of how we are regularly taken for suckers by the unexpected' -- Larry Elliot, Guardian

'A provocative macro-trend tome in the tradition of The Wisdom of
Crowds and The Tipping Point' -- Time

'A richly enjoyable read with an important message' -- BusinessWeek

'An idiosyncratically brilliant new book' -- Niall Ferguson, Sunday Telegraph

'An idiosyncratically brilliant new book'
-- Niall Ferguson, Sunday Telegraph

'Like the conversation of raconteur ... hugely enjoyable - compelling ... Beware the Black Swan' -- John Kay, Financial Times

'Mindblowing ... A masterpiece' -- Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail

'Taleb's book deserves our attention, and our thanks' -- International Herald Tribune

'The Black Swan confirms his status as a guru for every would-be Damien Hirst, George Soros and aspirant despot' -- John Cornwell, Sunday Times

From the Publisher

Shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 2007

See all Product description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are two main issues with this book.
The first is the author's inexplicable arrogance and sense of superiority.
The second is the endless trail of anecdotes, both real and fictional, that only seem to serve the purpose of diluting the content.
The author assigns himself a very easy task: to prove that many theoretical frameworks are not perfect based on sporadic errors. He then assumes that this observation justifies the complete dismissal of whole branches of academia without offering any substantial alternative account. He constantly dismisses ill-defined groups such as "economists", "historians", or even just all "academics" (!) with little more than anecdotal evidence, without ever engaging with the opposing views.
I imagine in the current climate of anti-intellectualism this book will resonate with many, but anybody who has dealt with the matter in any serious setting or is simply familiar with basic scholarly practice will find this quite lacking.
I did appreciate the frequent references to the much preferable book Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman, which focuses on the cognitive aspect of statistical reasoning and its failings. For anyone interested more in the shortcomings of predictive models, I would possibly recommend Weapons of Math Destruction by O'Neil.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting and significant text, however, I can't help but feel that some of Taleb's more controversial theses are poorly supported and some of the later statistical reasoning appears confused.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Taleb's books. The guy is very clever and he is very well read. This isn't the first book I have read by Taleb, Ive now read all his books, I wish he would write some more.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Recommended to anyone that senses there is something dreadfully unsound about the way the world is run but can't put their finger on the cause.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great Price
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prompted by this book, the term "Black Swan Event" has come into popular use when discussing risk, so I thought it would make for an interesting read. It isn't. The basic concept of "unknown unknowns" is sound, but it really doesn't need more than twenty pages to explain it, put it in context, and discuss various uses.

I got bored by Taleb's strange in-jokes, preening and incessant stroking of his Übermensch ego. However, he's made a lot of what he calls "F--- you" money, so I don't doubt "F--- you" is exactly what he thinks of any negative reviews.

Flick through the reviews and you'll get the points he makes in a nutshell.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I will summarise the book in one paragraph and then give positive and negative comment and a more serious critique of his message.

Summary:

Forecasting is extremely difficult and usually little better than guessing. Most experts in social sciences, especially finance and economics, overrate themselves, proclaiming abilities they simply don't have (he uses the word "fraudster" many times). Risk analysis, and indeed all statistical work that relies on Gaussian assumptions, doesn't work because Gaussian assumptions don't hold in most real world situations, which are subject to "unknown unknowns". He cites the example of a casino which used mathematics to control its losses to gamblers but still lost a lot of money when an irreplaceable performer in their main show was maimed by a tiger, and when the owner's daughter was kidnapped. it nearly lost its licence when an irresponsible employee hid a bunch of tax returns instead of filing them. These, of course, are the black swans of the title.

The positive:

It is easy to read and entertaining, with an engaging human touch. Its insights are largely valid and important. It is a useful provocative challenge to conventional thinking and a slap in the face to self-important economists who take themselves too seriously.

The negative:

It is repetitive and could have been written in 50 pages. By the mid-point, the constant rubbishing of the entire scientific and mathematics community as fraudsters felt like a tiresome rant. Towards the end it felt like listening to the charismatic leader of a religious sect explaining that only he knew the truth and all those who didn't listen to him were damned. Indeed, the author is even more arrogant than those he attacks.
Read more ›
2 Comments 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews