The Black Swan Book Review by Stephen Parry

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The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

It’s scary finding out the steering wheel is not connected to anything.
Let me start by saying this is a fantastic book, but I did not think that as I was reading it….why? because, the more I read, the more depressed I became, not with the book but with the tearing down of the illusions I have built up over many years about managing businesses and organisations. Realising that all the MBA models for this and that actually feed our futile desire to get control of the future, create certainty and create and illusion that we know what we are doing. These models have created an Illusion of control, far better to deal with reality and be prepared as best we can for big changes which traditional analysis tells us are highly improbable and creates a false sense of security. Taleb has shown that the highly Improbable is anything but.Taleb deconstructs, (rips apart)very logically, the predictive probabilities associated with the ubiquitous bell curve in a manner a non statistician can understand and provides us with a language to use against the analysts, who are using highly sophisticated bell curve models in an effort to make business decisions. This predictive activity can now be revealed for what it is…nothing more than corporate tarot card reading.

For me, finding out that the steering wheel I have been holding onto to steer my company is not connected to anything is a revelation, and has forced me to see the world as it really is, not as the analysts would have us believe.

Well Done Taleb.

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