Startling, profound and universal, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, bestselling author of Fooled by Randomness, Black Swans underlie almost everything, from the rise of religions, to events in our own personal lives. A Black Swan is a highly improbable event with three principle characteristics: its unpredictability; its massive impact; and, after it has happened, our desire to make it appear less random and more predictable than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of Black Swans? Why are we unable to estimate risk: falling vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate and categorize, rather than opening ourselves up to the impossible? For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do, restricting our knowledge to the irrelevant and inconsequential, so that large events continue to surprise us an shape our world. We may even be hard-wired to learn specifics when we should be focused on generalities. Now in this revelatory book, he explains everything we know about what we dont know. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book-it might even be a Black Swan.