The Black Swan

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This week at the Idea Festival in Louisville, KY, New York Times bestselling author Nassim Nicholas Teleb lectured from his book, The Black Swan. His books have more than a million copies in print and his writings have been translated into 27 languages. He has been described as a “giant of modern thought… now the hottest thinker in the world.”

Nassim began his lecture by defining a black swan as an event that carries massive consequences and is extremely hard to predict. He shows that black swans historically can be said of the necktie to the computer and even the internet.

He believes that you cannot predict the future twenty and thirty years ahead, which goes against the grain of forcasters that love to predict events, economic futures, by mere numbers and spreadsheets. Nassim believes the resason why is because of “overcausation,” looking at the results before the facts. Forecasting by theory will always get it wrong.

In conclusion, Nassim emphasized the need for experience instead of theories, rather than what’s currently the common trend, theories over experience.

To learn more about Black Swans and enter in to the philosophical mind of N.N. Taleb check out his book, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

More Idea Festival coverage:

1. The Rise and Fall of Hyperpowers


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