What do 9/11, the success of the Harry Potter series, or the sinking of the Titanic have in common? They are all Black Swan events, as defined by Lebanese-American trader-turned-essayist of uncertainty Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

In his eponymous book, he defines Black Swans as rare, unexpected events — they elude traditional risk management models — that have paradigm-shifting impact and are rationalised in hindsight, as if they could have been predicted.

As humans, we understandably desire fitting such events into simple narratives and being able to better predict the future. Instead, Taleb first advocates accepting the prevalent role of chance. He goes on explaining that we should instead build robustness — and later anti-fragility (benefit from the exceptional) — into systems.

Reading the book will transform your perception of risk and uncertainty, both in business scenarios and in your personal life.

A short book review I wrote for a friend.