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Luis J. (Amora, Portugal)

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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't be arrogant, 24 July 2008
Let me share with you a book that I'm reading and that has pleased me particularly.
It is "The Black Swan", by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, born in Lebanon in Amioun (which is not irrelevant, as we shall see), survivor of the civil war.
The author's thesis is that the future is completely unpredictable, all the forecasts that we are bombarded with in our day-to-day are nothing more than charlatanry to confusing us, to say the better.
While this statement appears trivial, it is not.
Just think of the forecasts we hear every day, such as:
The oil price will not to rise
Inflation this year will be... (this is used very well by you know who)
Human life will have an average duration more than 150 years in the century XXII
Finally, you see what is my point. And it is not difficult for you to find dozens more in a few minutes.
This inability to predict is innate to humans, to life as it is, and the extreme complexity of the world in which we live.
A consequence of this bad forecast capacity is the application of scientific methods (such as the hard science of physics and mathematics) to the economy, philosophy, history, education (this was by me) and all the social "sciences" in general. They want to be what they can not be, with methods that are not applicable, where they could follow the path of narrative that they followed for a long time with no spectacular results (for the media society in which we live) but much more reasonable and true.
Another curiosity is that the specialists made more mistakes in their forecasts. The author proves that any taxi driver can better predict the progress of the share price than a broker after applying mathematical methods that have the right to Nobel prize, for example.
The author in his book dismantle the academic arrogance, the wisdom of experts and does not it, of course, in a superficial way. It presents data and studies and practical bases its argument in their personal life as it was for many years consultant to financial institutions famous, participating in "task forces" for the U.S. government, having in its curriculum advanced training in mathematics, philosophy and economy and is (or was), in the academic fields.
I mean, he does not speak from above like certain people we know who have commented on teachers and their work, without ever having put their feet the classroom or in a long time not doing so because they have managed to jump-time in that profession that "do not do anything", "have lots of holidays" and whose practitioners are the real culprits of the "state of the nation".
Let me quote an excerpt from the book rather significant about the report that:
... The idea of Popper has to do with the financial constraints at the prediction of historical events and the need to reduce soft areas, as the history and social science at a level slightly above the aesthetics and entertainment, as if for collecting of butterflies or currencies. (Popper and received a Viennese classical education, not reached that far, I, yes. I am of Amioun.) What we are referring here as soft sciences historical studies are dependent on narrative.
The central argument is that of Popper, to provide historical events, it is necessary to provide technological innovation, which is essentially unpredictable.
(...) If I expect to expect something at some point in the future, then I have something in this. (...) If it had succeeded to augur the invention of the wheel, already know their appearance, thus already know build a wheel, or said otherwise, to understand the future down to the point of it, it is necessary to incorporate elements of the future.
Before the Internet, who could predict the future? Such changes were imposed by it? (...) One of the features that pleases me most is how the author clarity presents its arguments, without the fetters of political correctness (the fact that Lebanon is not negligible and may prove to read the book), calling the "horses by the names". And doing it with a fluid written, captivating, but without losing accuracy.
The author is in school empirical skeptical, as opposed to the bench of theoreticians that produce and deliver the biggest nonsense that we see all times in the media. Indeed this is the second Nassim as bad, that he no longer watch TV and read newspapers, since it only contributes to the disinformation, which marries its thesis that the more "informed" by the media are less we have become familiar, though this counter the "common sense".
But what pleased me most was the scene that Taleb reports when, after years of working in a financial company, to present its evaluator, it tears the assessment ahead, even without seeing the result, because it was the author of a second farce, a thing without feet or head, since, at work exerting results depend, and almost exclusively, by chance, of luck, rather than any demonstrable ability in particular, at least the parameters that were used to assess and It seems to exercise theirs functions of day-to-day.
It seems that he was the only crazy by those sides...
This reminds me of anything, and it is clear that I am sorry for not having the financial conditions, the will, the courage to finally do the same. But it may be that until there is also crazy.
It is that from September I will also be put in a vortex of weirdness.
Hugs to all.
PS: Read the book because this review is far from doing justice to its deserved high quality.


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