The Black Swan Theory

Currently, I am reading “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb is a philosopher who has founded the Black Swan theory: The impact of the highly improbable.

The Black Swan Theory describes how the structure of randomness in empirical reality. For example, the attack of 911 was a “Black Swan” event. It was not supposed to happen. Nothing could have prepared the U.S. for the event because it was not planned to happen. To sit here and say “we should have done this” or “why didn’t we do that” is useless. We need to realize that, like any other circumstance, it was an event that happened without knowing the outcome.

A quote that really caught my attention and persuaded me to continue reading this novel was: “Living on our planet, today, requires a lot more imagination than we are made to have. We lack imagination and repress it in others.”

Not the best advice, but sometimes it is OK

How often do we all see this in ourselves and others? We lack imagination throughout the day so we instead find other outlets to let our imaginations run wild. The sad realization is that we tend to take our frustrations and boredomness out on the ones who are closest to us. Whether it is gambling, cheating or drugs, the outcome is almost always negative.

Nothing makes me smile more than a kid’s imagination and their “anything is possible” approach to solving problems. If we continue to let ourselves live in a boxed-in way of thinking, our lives become rhythmic, predictable and motionless. Instead of repressing our lack of imagination in others, there are so many other ways to find imagination such as art, writing, music, sports, and cooking to name a few.

Push yourself out of the box, let me know what happens. You cannot predict what will happen if you stay closed in and you cannot predict what will happen if you step out, so I say, “Why not?” This book reiterates my personal theory to take as many risks as you can. Why not? I constantly ask myself. Life is too short to constantly hold yourself back.

Living in box is almost as scary as stepping out of it

If you enjoyed your philosophy/ psychology/ conceptual theory classes in college, I highly recommend this novel as it reads more like a textbook than a book . Gee, I think I miss college, never thought I would hear myself say that!



  1. Lorna's Voice

    Thanks for the explanation of the concept of “black swan” and your take on taking risks. I think I might pick up the book.

    I’m not a natural risk-taker, or that’s what I tell myself, but I’ve life without much of a plan–just following my heart and trusting that things will fall into place. Things have. Is that risky? I don’t know.

  2. countingducks

    I’ve taken a few risks in my time. Some have proved to be wonderfully prductive and some others resulted in some painful bruises but I am firmly of the school that life is an adventure to be relished and I approach it in that way

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