Black Swan - by Nassim Taleb - Notes Part 1
Nassim Taleb is much funnier than he is given credit for, it is hard to read this book with out smiling. ( For ex. We know if someone has killed someone they are a killer, but if meet someone we do not truly know one way or the other that they are not killers.)
Taleb is setting up the problem of a practical framework around the philosophical problems around the fact that we know much less than we think we do, and that the past should not be used naively to predict the future.
Knowledge, even when it is exact, does not often lead to appropriate actions because we tend to forget what we know, we forget how to process it properly if we do not pay attention.
We make our knowledge domain specific - we ride escalators to use stair masters at the gym
We often commit a logical mistake in life we would never commit in a classroom.
We have a tendency to look for instances that confirm our internal personal narratives.
It is possible to know with certainty when a statement is false but not necessarily that it is true, so we can get closer to the truth by negative instances, not by verification.
We don't need skeptics - we need semi- skeptics.
Get familiar with and read books by Karl Popper. You cannot know with any certainty that a proposition was true, you can only know it is not true.
Uncertainty is our discipline, and we must learn to act under conditions of incomplete information.
(my thoughts: we make up narratives, stories, of what could happen or what we thougt did happen, all based off incomplete subjective information. These flawed but very creative narratives define and limit our world and our potential.)
Fundamental attribution error - to fixate on supposed stable character traits and over look the influence of context.
Human beings have a seemingly fundamental tendency to compensate for lower risks in one area by taking greater risks in another. As economists would say, they consumed the risk reduction, they didn't save it - Malcolm Gladwell
The key is not having ideas but having the recipe to deal with your ideas. We don't need moralizing. We need a set of tricks. - Taleb ( This reminds me of Kevin Kelly and the rules of artificial life. Taleb basically states we need a set process or rules to use ideas effectively.) There is courage and heroism in defying human impulse, in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable.
(what is viewed as pessimistic negative action is actually logic at work excluding and stating what is known by stating what it is not.)
(The key is not having the ideas but having the recipe to deal with your ideas.)
We are more willing to gamble when it comes to losses, but are risk averse when it comes to our gains.
Everything that can be tested must be Tested.
Histories and societies do not crawl - they jump.
Human minds suffer from the triplet of opacity;
1. the illusion of understanding what is more complicated than is known
2. retrospective distortion - hindsight shows patterns believed to be easily seen and facts are distorted.
3. the over evaluation of factual information.
End Black Swan Notes Part 1.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Arabic: نسيم نيقولا نجيب طالب, alternatively Nessim or Nissim, born 1960) is a Lebanese-born essayist, scholar and former practitioner of mathematical finance. He is best known as the author of the 2007 book (completed 2010) The Black Swan. - Wikipedia
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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