First of all, let me make something clear, this has nothing whatsoever to go with the ballerina movie “Black Swan”. Now that’s out of the way, this book was not recommend to me by anybody, I just picked it up because the blurb in the back looked pretty interesting. Though it doesn’t strictly talk about my field of interest (Computer Engineering), I could see some points which definitely apply to computers though. The book itself is about how random events that we face in our everyday lives, from world disasters to the weather.
These random events have a huge impact on our lives however, they are nearly impossible to predict. Most of us try to rationalize these events by trying to predict similar future events, but this book tells us to do otherwise and ignore these so-called ‘experts’. He labels the forecasters as ”con-artists” because he feels that these people are trying to make you think a certain way, when in fact, the event itself was truly random. Also, he believes that a Black Swan Event depends on the observer. Using an example stated in the book, during Thanksgiving, what may be a Black Swan surprise for a turkey is not a Black Swan surprise for its butcher. Therefore, people should “avoid being the turkey” by identifying areas of vulnerability in order to “turn the Black Swans white”.
In effect, what the author is simply trying to convey is that, “we should stop trying to predict everything and take advantage of uncertainty”. In business terms, this would mean that companies must take into account that they are very vulnerable to hazardous Black Swan Events and are exposed to losses beyond those that are predicted by their “defective financial models”. In computer terms, this book would suggest the readers to invest in as many new ideas as possible, which might turn out to be a bad investment (the most likely outcome), however, it might also turn out to be a Black Swan and become the next big thing.