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The Black Swan - Book by Nassim Taleb

Unexpected and improbable events with devastating consequences (Black Swans) cannot be predicted. In the past, they often triggered crises, wars, or revolutions.

To perceive indications of future dangers, signals (relevant information) must be filtered from the noise (irrelevant information). It is important to distinguish between two types of systems. In systems where normal distributions can be applied, the average value of extreme values is hardly influenced. When determining the average weight of a group, this value will hardly change even when the heaviest man in Germany is included. Weight is a limited quantity based on body measurements.

However, there are also systems whose average values can be shaped by extreme values. If one compares how wealthy people are, a completely different average value will result when a billionaire is included in a group. Wealth is not a limited quantity.

Systems that are sensitive to extreme values carry a much higher potential for danger, as random events can have very significant impacts, namely Black Swans.


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