“Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb

Writing my thesis. Every day discovering something new, something that makes me think more about morality and ethics behind economics than methodologies, theories and hypotheses… Some of those ideas I’ll share on my blog just because of the availability heuristics – people have a limited memory and are subject to (sometimes) forget/ignore some relevant information which they truly appreciated some… long time ago.

Before the discovery of Australia, people in the Old World were convinced that all swans were white, an unassailable belief as it seemed completely confirmed by empirical evidence. The sighting of the first black swan might have been an interesting surprise for a few ornithologists (and others extremely concerned with the coloring of birds), but that is not where the significance of the story lies. It illustrates a severe limitation to our learning from observations or experience and the fragility of our knowledge. One single observation can invalidate a general statement derived from millennia of confirmatory sightings of millions of white swans. All you need is one single (and, I am told, quite ugly) black bird.

Nassim Taleb, Black Swan

Probably there are still so many other new things to be discovered which we pretend and assume that don’t exist at this moment…


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