The Black Swan – Video Lecture

“The test of whether you really liked a book is if you reread it (and how many times)” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan

According to Mr. Taleb’s quote, one of my most-liked books from the past few years just happens to be one he wrote: The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. It defies easy categorization, but if anything, you would likely find the book in the philosophy aisle. A rewarding and thought provoking journey; I have found new insights in each successive session (starting my fourth pass this summer).

The financial media has rapidly adopted the term “black swan” for just about any crisis these days, as often happens when a complex idea has a deceivingly simple metaphor. Taleb himself claims he has received nearly 600 interview requests for the ongoing events in Japan (see #142).

If you’re not sure what a “black swan” is or even if you have read the book already, I highly recommend viewing the following talk Taleb gave in early 2008. It is in turns insightful, amusing and powerful.  The full video is available at

One parting thought from Taleb, “If you want people to read a book, tell them it is overrated.”