The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable

What have the invention of the wheel, Pompeii, the Wall Street Crash, Harry Potter and the internet got in common? Why are all forecasters con-artists? What can Catherine the Greats lovers tell us about probability? Why should you never run for a train or read a newspaper? This book is all about Black Swans: the random events that underlie our lives, from bestsellers to world disasters. Their impact is huge; they are impossible to predict; yet after they happen we always try to rationalize them. A rallying cry to ignore the experts, The Black Swan shows us how to stop trying to predict everything and take advantage of uncertainty.

Book contents:

  1. The apprenticeship of an empirical skeptic

  2. Yevgenia's Black Swan

  3. The speculator and the prostitute

  4. One thousand and one days, or how not to be a sucker

  5. Confirmation Shmonfirmation!

  6. The narrative fallacy

  7. Living in the antechamber of hope

  8. Glacomo Casanova's unfalling luck: the problem of silent evidence

  9. The ludic fallacy, or the uncertainty of the nerd

  10. The scandal of prediction

  11. How to look for bird poop

  12. Epistemocracy, a dream

  13. Appelles the painter, or what do you do if you cannot predict?

  14. From mediocristian to extremistan, and back

  15. Tye bell curve, that great intellectual fraud

  16. The aesthetics of randomness

  17. Lockes's madmen, or bell curves in the wrong places

  18. The uncertainty of the phony

  19. Half and half, or how to get even with the black swan

  20. Learning from Mother nature, the oldest and the wisest

  21. Why i do all this walking, or how systems become fragile

  22. Margaritas ante porcos

  23. Asperger and the ontological balck swan

  24. Perhaps the most useful problem in the history of modern philosophy

  25. The fourth quadrant, the solution of that most useful of problems

  26. What to do with the fourth quadrant

  27. The ten principles for a black swan robust society

  28. Amor fati: how to become indestructible