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Description

Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.
©2007 Nassim Nicholas Taleb (P)2007 Recorded Books, LLC

Critiques

"[Taleb] administers a severe thrashing to MBA- and Nobel Prize-credentialed experts who make their living from economic forecasting." ( Booklist)
"The hubris of predictions - and our perpetual surprise when the not-predicted happens - are themes of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's engaging new book....It concerns the occurrence of the improbable, the power of rare events and the author's lament that 'in spite of the empirical record we continue to project into the future as if we were good at it.'" ( The New York Times)

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Notations

Global

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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Judd Bagley
  • 27/05/2009

Worth it in the end...I think.

I spent most of my time with this book cursing the author for his ego and inability to get to the point.

Yet, I stuck with it until the end.

That's because the story Taleb tells is fascinating, relevant, and probably worth the mediocre job he does telling it.

And he really does do a mediocre job.

I recommend this book, but also recommend looking for an abridged version first.

69 sur 69 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • 28/02/2008

Interesting

I have mixed feelings about the book. It is very repetitive, and approaches its thesis from many angles. Yet, it is a very interesting subject matter.

The reading of the book is good, although someone who is not familiar with the mathematics may have trouble following the tables read aloud in the final chapters.

20 sur 20 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua Kim
  • 10/06/2012

Forever Changed My Thinking

I think that Taleb is probably an S.O.B. and a nut....but his argument that the world (and our lives) is in reality ruled by unpredictable large-scale events (black swans) is intriguing and forcefully argued. Taleb's background is in quantitative trading...and while arrogant beyond belief his arguments seem hard to dismiss.

24 sur 25 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Mullen
  • 22/03/2008

A fun Diatribe Against Silly Thinking

OK, you'll get the basic point of this book about 1/3 of the way through: The impact of the highly improbable is like to be much greater than the cumulative impact of the probable and predictable.

But Taleb makes this so much fun to read/listen to that you'll find yourself drawn into example after example of the silly presumptions that lead us to live as though we can predict the world around us.

The author is a little full of himself, but that's part of what makes it fun.

You don't have to be a math/statistics techie to get the concepts in this book. It will reduce your dependence on precise prediction and give you a chance to live free of the tyranny of precision.

Enjoy!

35 sur 37 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • 16/03/2009

Brilliant, Obnoxious, Narcissistic, Brilliant

The book assumes that you sort of know that the normal distribution is grossly overused in all kinds of science and pseudo-science. It explains in very easy to understand terms why this leads to a host of misunderstandings about the way the world really works. Examples include the recent sub-prime problems.

At some level this is something that serious students of mathematics have understood for a long time, but few are able to explain it this well and this systematically.

The style of the book will strike many who prefer more traditional prose as juvenile and narcissistic. But the brilliance of the book tends to overcome these annoyances.

39 sur 42 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gary
  • 22/10/2013

Even better today (2013)

The author says he's a mathematician philosopher trader and if you tend towards that mode of thinking as I do this book will forever change your world view.

The book was written a year before the financial crisis of 2008 and really predicts that kind of event completely. His bottom line is that most of what we model (all financial products, for example) does not follow a normal distribution and extreme events which lie outside of the model will happen much more frequently than the mathematics would predict.

He tells you up front that he's going to pick and choose philosophers, economist and mathematicians who agree with his thesis. He's up front about the fact that the only modern philosopher worth knowing is Karl Popper and he explains why.

I don't understand why other reviewers don't love this book as much as do. Perhaps, because they read it before 2008 and didn't get the benefit of hindsight like I have.

7 sur 7 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 18/09/2013

Black Swan Turkey Jerky

The author has one good point then rants rather incessantly about a wide variety of people and subjects.

So you will not have to read this turkey, here is the meat;
If you suspect the variance of something might be inconsistent, you can’t rely on history plus a Bell-type curve to predict outcomes or risks. That is it. Fourteen hours. It is said many times, many ways, but that is it. Now, this is a very good point. The bell-curve is massively abused, particularly in government and finance. So now, when you see a prospectus or government report prognosticating about risks or costs, ask yourself, is the variance of oil prices, or gold prices, or medical costs, or whatever it is about, really likely to be consistent? If not, disregard the prophecies. Good to remember! Nevertheless there are plenty of places, other than casinos, where using the Bell curve is safe and effective. The author does not say the normal curve should never be used, but one could get that misimpression from the author’s unremitting attacks.

Unfortunately The Black Swan is also laced with assaults on multitudes. The attitude of the author is so pompous and pretentious and tinged with insecurity and even self-loathing that it is literally uncomfortable to listen to. I could go on and on, barely a page went by without something causing me to cringe, shake my head, or groan. I agree with the author’s main point and the narration was good, considering the problematic writing. There were just too many things wrong with this book to allow me to recommend it to anyone.

68 sur 81 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 13/12/2007

Enlightening & Engaging

I decided to write a review after listening to the book twice and enjoying it greatly both times. I didn’t think readers were getting a fair representation of this book’s contents by just reading the previous reviews.

Perhaps this book doesn’t strike a cord with everybody. The concepts are presented intertwined with personal stories and often come across as strongly stated opinions. One will certainly appreciate the book much more if one has had his or her own fair share of struggles with the concepts of knowledge, our perception of truth, our biases in framing the truth, and ultimately the false sense of confidence that we often have as to why things are the way they are.

Unless you thought about, for example, why financial markets are ridden with extremes, or why beginners seem to be lucky, why intelligence does not seem to matter much, why some risk taking pays off, and you didn’t like the typical answers given to these questions, you probably won’t enjoy the book a whole lot.

No book can truthfully tell you how to make money. This one is no exception. The greatest benefit of this book, if it stays with you, is to make you conscious of how little you know about the reality, and how little statistics can be trusted. Hopefully, this in turn, will make you a better decision maker especially when stakes are high.

Taleb’s genius is to provide a single framework for understanding of many of our observations in mostly unrelated disciplines. He (or his narrator) may sound angry or condescending at times. Perhaps he shouldn’t, but most people would, if they subscribed to his school of thoughts and examined events around them as skeptical empiricists.

40 sur 48 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 22/01/2009

OK, I get it!

A good book but the author could have shared the message in about half the time. Gets a little wordy and I found myself saying "I get it, move on" during the second half of the book.

33 sur 40 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • A structural engineer
  • 09/11/2007

Poor style, limited novelty, two great phrases

In some ways Taleb's style is that of an angry overconfident doctoral student: arrogant, full of cutesy headings and overly broad contemputuous attacks on perceived fools, but often thin on defense of his thesis. It can be hard to see beyond the stylistic limitations to his argument's merits.

Scholars familiar with the concept of epistemic uncertainty (the possible discrepancy between nature and our concept of it) may perceive that the black swan broadly overlaps the idea. Taleb's contribution, and what I like about the phrase "black swan" as opposed to epistemic uncertainty, may be his argument that in many domains of life the black swan swamps the mathematically familiar uncertainties which we sometimes call aleatoric.

One chapter may make the frequently painful slog worthwhile: in the middle of the book Taleb introduces the ludic fallacy, by which he means the false idea that uncertainties in life are like uncertainties in casino games. In a casino, the rules are well established and the uncertainties readily quantified. Taleb convincingly argues that in many aspects of real life (even as he engagingly shows in the real financial life of a casino) the uncertainties that drive history are not the ones of which we are aware and plan for.

It is for the phrase "black swan" and the idea of the ludic fallacy that I am glad to have read the book. Had Taleb had a better editor, or perhaps that he had listened to the editor he did have, I would have given the book another star.

50 sur 61 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marc Dierckx
  • 18/08/2015

Fooled by being a human being

A must for everybody who thinks himself as an analytical person. Although fat tails have entered into the common knowledge of many of us, we still remain fooled by randomness and I only was able to utter "of course" after misinterpreting a good number of the examples.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09/08/2018

Intriguing idea, too much repetition.

It's a very interesting book, but the author keeps making the same point on and on.... you could but the book in half. The speaker pronounces French quite strangely. overall, I would recommend it because it raises an important point

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Adriana Rotaru
  • 04/07/2018

A very insightful read

This book brought me a completely different understanding of the forecasts I listen each morning, quarter, year. Loved it.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 14/05/2018

Interesting

Gives you a new perspective on some parts of the world and your life. Definetely a recommenation!

The author explains his arguments very much in detail and with lots of intemperances so it is a quite long book.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Maina
  • 18/07/2017

Muss mal gelesen / gehört haben.

Das Buch hat mir insgesamt sehr gut gefallen. Es ist sehr durchdacht und interessant gehalten mit vielen Querverweise.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 17/07/2017

Technically correct

Taleb has some good points, but uses weak examples and shyes away from actual math

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Christian Arzt
  • 25/03/2017

Empfehlenswert und lehrreich

Würden Sie The Black Swan noch mal anhören? Warum?

Ja, weil die Inhalte sehr philosophisch und tiefgehend sind und daher nicht unbedingt einfach verständlich. Dennoch sind seine Aussagen von teilweise großerecht Bedeutung, so dass es lohnenswert ist diese zu verstehen.

Würden Sie sich jetzt auch für ein anderes Hörbuch von Nassim Nicholas Taleb interessieren? Warum oder warum nicht?

Ja, weil er eine etwas andere Sichtweise als die des Mainstream hat und in Bezug auf Modelle der Ökonomie eine erfrischend realistische Stellung bezieht, Kritik übt und Alternativen aufzeigt.

Haben Sie vorher schon ein Hörbuch mit David Chandler gehört? Wie würden Sie beide vergleichen?

Nein.

Hat dieses Hörbuch Sie emotional stark bewegt? Mussten Sie laut z.B. lachen, weinen, zweifeln, etc.?

Nein.

Was wäre für andere Hörer sonst noch hilfreich zu wissen, um das Hörbuch richtig einschätzen zu können?

Wissenschaftlich und zugleich realitätsnah, aber in philosophischen Stil und teilweise anspruchsvoll Geschrieben.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael Herrmann
  • 10/01/2017

Too long

The book contains some interesting insights. But it is too long. The author talks about himself a lot. I'm not interested in his personal life story, especially since it doesn't add much to the main points he is trying to make. He seems to be pretty full of himself, which made the book off-putting at times.