The supporting cast only helps to further complement Portman's extraordinary performance. Cassel is amazing as always as the slimy and twisted Thomas. We never really get more than hints at his true intentions, but Cassel makes every moment on-screen simply amazing. Kunis delivers a level of depth I never thought was possible for her.
She commands the screen with every new scene, and this performance will easily act as a starmaking role for her. Hershey is even better; practically stealing the screen away from Portman's magnetizing performance. She makes Erica into that monster of a character everyone loves to hate, and brings a level of intensity to every mere moment she appears in. If anyone is even nearly close to equaling Portman's performance, it would be her. Despite only appearing for a few minutes, Winona Ryder is amazing in her role as the former lead ballerina Beth.
I just wish she could have chewed up more scenery. Black Swan is an incredible film from beginning to end, and will not easily leave you. Watch out for it at Oscar time — it just may steal the show. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet! Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Full Cast and Crew. A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity. Wait, Is Mary Poppins a Witch?
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Related News Film News Roundup: STARmeter Top 10 of Share this Rating Title: Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. What Type of Diver Are You? Learn more More Like This. Silver Linings Playbook The Imitation Game The Social Network The Theory of Everything Life of Pi The King's Speech Dallas Buyers Club Edit Cast Cast overview, first billed only: Edit Storyline Nina Portman is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance.
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 — itself a black swan. The book also contains a 4-page glossary; 19 pages of notes; and, a page bibliography in addition to an index. Hardcover , pages. Published May 15th by Random House first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about The Black Swan , please sign up. This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [I could not go on after some time. Maybe I will start again where I left off after reading some good books. Is it worth my time to start again? Talib even encourages you to skip certain chapters if you don't want to be bogged down in the details or the math.
This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [Why does he dislike correlation and the bell curve so much? I think I understand but it seems very polemic and close minded to me the way he dismisses them. The cases where he is right extreme events happen maybe - what? I think even less. Lucas Carlson Because of the magnitude of disaster possible when people are wrong and unprepared for being wrong.
He hates the bell curve for massively …more Because of the magnitude of disaster possible when people are wrong and unprepared for being wrong. He hates the bell curve for massively misrepresenting real risk potentials.
See all 6 questions about The Black Swan…. Lists with This Book. This is a great book. And, to take a page from Taleb, anyone who doesn't think so is wrong. No, no, there are a number of problems with the book. A bit bloated, a bit repetitive. And NNT does make the misstep every once and a while. To take a very small instance, Taleb bases a short section of the book upon the idea that to be "hardened by the Gulag" means to become "harder" or "stronger" rather than its true meaning of someone who has become inured to certain difficulties, not necessarily strong This is a great book.
- Black Swan – review;
- Our Schools in the Post-War World.
- Father Christmas and the Seven Pirates.
To take a very small instance, Taleb bases a short section of the book upon the idea that to be "hardened by the Gulag" means to become "harder" or "stronger" rather than its true meaning of someone who has become inured to certain difficulties, not necessarily stronger because of it. However, this along with other problems are mere quibbles relative to the strengths of this book and, I think it's worth noting that many of the negative reviews on this site base their hostile reactions to Taleb on just such insignificant trifles. The Black Swan deals with the fascinating topic of the nature uncertainty and approaches it from a variety of intellectual angles, mainly the psychological blocks that we are both born with and have created for ourselves that prevent our understanding of the improbable: Each one of these discussions reinforces his main argument but captivate independently as they are insights to the way we process information.
Taleb also references numerous thinkers that are not as well known in the popular consciousness and provides wonderful anecdotes and examples from their life and work that illustrate his points and entertain the reader. Many other reviewers comment on the Taleb's unique style: Just because he's arrogant, however, doesn't mean he's wrong--this man has spent most of his life dedicated to this subject and it shows.
And his antagonistic style seems appropriate--it's hard to go against the establishment, even if your goal is truth; people aren't going to believe you. He attacks the Nobel Prize in Economics because according to him, the financial models created by the prizewinners that that Swedish committee has rewarded have done a great deal of harm to people's understanding of the true economic risks involved. These are the exclamations of narrow-minded thinkers who have yet to examine the evidence thoroughly. I, personally, found Taleb's style to be amusing and engaging. It reflects a true passion and dedication to the beliefs he expounds in the book, beliefs that are worth some attention.
If we live in a time of uncertainty, it's a good thing to understand what that really means. View all 9 comments. Apr 19, Aaron rated it liked it Recommends it for: This is a book that raises a number of very important questions, but chief among them is definitely the question of how the interplay between a good idea and an insufferable author combine to effect the reading experience?
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable - Wikipedia
This author is an a-hole. He's dismissive, chronically insecure, unstructured and hostile towards his detractors. He engages in what may be the lowest form of rhetoric by pre-emptively attacking any critics even before they've had the chance to come forward as too This is a book that raises a number of very important questions, but chief among them is definitely the question of how the interplay between a good idea and an insufferable author combine to effect the reading experience? He engages in what may be the lowest form of rhetoric by pre-emptively attacking any critics even before they've had the chance to come forward as too stupid or blinkered to follow his argument.
He's contemptuous towards entire disciplines economics, law, social science without making much attempt to engage with the concepts he's critiquing beyond the broadest levels of generality. Worst of all, he's endlessly digressive, and couches his digressions in the language of capricious genius rather than simple bad writing he hits the occasional sweetnote with these tangents, but if anyone else who has read this thing cover to cover wanted to put a bullet in Yvgenia, feel free to step on up.
He's hard to like. It's unfortunate, because at the core of all of the go-nowhere anecdotes and borderline psychobabble is a good analysis on how people are psychologically and socially ill-equipped to handle unexpected outlier events which he persistently, desperately refers to as "Black Swans", one of approximately new bits of not-too-essential terminology he's trying to appropriate for himself and can't learn from our mistakes. It's a wonderful theory for a book one third the length of this one, and I'm happy to admit that some of the better moments were probably missed by this reader simply because of the exhaustion of filtering through the surplusage.
I am sure that the failure to give this book five or six stars the possibility of a six star rating might itself be something of a Black Swan is due to my own marginal intellect. The author has made it clear that any other explanation would be entirely unpredictable. View all 15 comments. Jun 21, rmn rated it liked it Shelves: I can summarize this book in two words: Actually, I should be more fair since the author spent pages laying out his beliefs and arguing his conclusions. The real summary of this book should be: Shit happens more often than you think.
The author, Taleb, rails against economics, most philosophers, and the way we incorporate news to allow us to make sense of events and everyday happenings.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
He wants us to unlearn the way we think and learn, while destroying the modern beliefs in stat I can summarize this book in two words: He wants us to unlearn the way we think and learn, while destroying the modern beliefs in statistics and at the same time eviscerating the nobel prize winners who got us to where we are today. While the author has valid points, his writing style oscillates between boring, repetitive, and just plain bad. The author does understand his limitation to some degree and even suggests skipping certain chapters, though to be honest, the chapters he recommends skipping I found to be the best in the book.
I do recommend this for the ideas. View all 10 comments. Oct 27, Mark rated it did not like it Shelves: I am, professionally, a statistician. I do not have a Ph. I work at a factory where I assist engineers in better understanding how processes work and making things better. I generally feel that I make a worthwhile contribution to the world. I bought and read this book because it was critical of statisticians.
I do not believe in surrounding myself with 'y First, a disclaimer. I do not believe in surrounding myself with 'yes men' in the form of books and actively seek to challenge my personal beliefs through the things I read and study. Also, the only fields of statistics that I have ever avoided are time series forecasting and actuarial science incredibly boring.
NNT as he loves to refer to himself in the book is an idiot. Actually, he's worse than an idiot, he's a charlatan of the worst order. If I were NNT I wouldn't have to defend that statement at all, pretentious phonies reading this to feel intelligent about themselves would nod in agreement at the 'wisdom' I've laid at their feet.
One of the first things criticized in this book is the narrative for conveying information. Yet that is all NNT does in this book is lay out narrative. No philosopher is quoted, no idea co-opted without some flourishing tale of how they were never appreciated despite their obvious intelligence or of how they were recognized for their genius but the cold, unending march of human forgetfulness relegated them to the annals of history until someone else rediscovered the idea and NNT bought the original book at a used bookstore in some non-American city that has an air of academia to it.
Later in the book, NNT makes one of his few cogent points I'll chalk it up to luck on his part.
Silent evidence is a major problem everywhere we look and in every field sadly. The negative studies are almost never published, the failures are not chronicled, etc The hard thing about silent evidence is that it's almost never available at all and we rarely recognize that we're not seeing it. Yet NNT frequently ignores silent evidence.
He discusses casinos and all the money they put into preventing cheating something that, apparently, comes from mediocristan and is easily predictable but mocks them for doing so because the biggest losses they'd suffered in recent history had nothing to do with cheating.
Black swan theory
Apparently NNT failed to recognize that perhaps the systems in place so effectively prevented cheating that it was no longer a potential source of lost income. Perhaps if he had looked further back in time he would have seen the financial cost of cheating. It would be like criticizing a store for employing anti-shoplifting techniques when their biggest loses came from a lost shipment, a dishonest accountant and some other unpredictable and essentially unavoidable problem.
The suggestion from NNT must be that dealing with the things we can is stupid and we should focus on the things that we cannot predict and therefore cannot prevent. NNT spends a whole chapter discussing luck and how every successful economist, banker, investor or other scalable professional is successful not due to skill, but to luck. I'm not going to debate that as the entire premise renders coherent arguments null and void you cannot disprove the assertion that someone is chronically lucky, well played NNT. However, this luck doesn't apply to his favorite philosophers.
NNT spends a chapter lauding Poincare for being a 'thinking mathematician' because he didn't rely on rigor, but rather intuition. NNT lambastes other mathematicians for criticizing Poincare by calling his techniques 'hand waving' which he decides is due to childishness on the part of the other 'nerd' mathematicians.
But success due to intuition is not success due to skill and is therefore not success to be recognized or rewarded at least, that's the case with bankers and investors. NNT doesn't understand the reason why mathematicians and other 'hard' scientists don't like hand waving is because there's no way to know if it's success or luck, it isn't repeatable and it isn't verifiable.
Also, NNT ignores the silent evidence of intuition. He looks to Poincare as a savior and steward of his profession while ignoring the unmarked graves of all the other 'thinking mathematicians' who failed miserably in their intuitive hand waving. For all of his experimental 'proof' offered in defense of claims about how we understand, learn and process things, NNT never gives more than one study as evidence although he will claim, without a footnote or other reference that many other studies have verified that particular claim. He accepts these theories as facts and bases large portions of his argument upon them, yet he criticizes doctors, biologists and other scientists for using experimental evidence to make theories on why things work instead of simply accepting that they do work.
How many times does he bring up 'anchoring' as a theory for why things happen, yet he cannot accept the fact that perhaps birds and humans use different brain regions to perform similar tasks? The study didn't prove that complex models are no different from simple ones, just that not all of them were better but no claim that they were ever worse. So why would I get rid of something that doesn't do worse but could do better?
If I buy a lottery ticket that is guaranteed to make me my money back and could make me more than what I paid, why wouldn't I buy it? Now, I understand that predicting the future is foolhardy, and I'm not saying that it's something we should put a lot of stock into pun intended but past information can give us a general idea about the future, even if it doesn't give us a great one. NNT passes himself off as some cool headed, rational thinker who sees beyond the noise and chaos of the world and invites the world to join him on the greener side of the pasture.
But nearly all of his arguments are based on contradictions with other arguments that he has made. Further, the remaining arguments that are defensible are impossible to disprove because they impossible to prove. Much like a believing person who argues that without empirical proof of man evolving from lower life or of the big bang, the scientist cannot be right, NNT argues that because models are not perfect, no one can use them to any benefit. The book is altogether too long given the core point of the book which is this: Because we cannot predict the future with certainty or even near certainty, we should not even try but rather just do whatever the heck we want because sometimes it's just as good.
View all 13 comments. The first time through, I listened to this book with my husband, usually while I was cooking. Although I tried to stop and mark important passages, I ended up thinking the book was not very systematic. The second time through, chapter by chapter, the method in his madness is more apparent. I continued to think Taleb is more a popularizer than an innovator. But even if so, that's not so shabby. He's trying to revolutionize the way we think, and the more we rehearse that, the better. Nassim Nichol The first time through, I listened to this book with my husband, usually while I was cooking.
While they both have us investigating our thinking, for Kahneman, it's to make us own up, while Taleb has more direct emphasis on avoiding disaster. He would like for us to realize our overuse of normal-curve thinking, which makes us minimize risk and have no expectations out of the ordinary: The normal curve tells us that the further out from the mean we go, the rarity of unusual events rapidly increases. We are not going to meet any foot tall people or anyone living to years old. But the normal curve often doesn't apply. We can't predict which books will be best sellers or how how the sales count will go on one of them.
We can't predict when a war will occur or just how one will transpire. The world is not fair. Unfairness and inequality are no epiphenomena but part and parcel of reality. Even in evolution, the fittest survive, thrive, and have more offspring. With written methods, all the little guys are out of work. Then, one book may become a bestseller. It leaves even the other books in the dust. And when the author of the bestseller writes another book, it'll get more attention than those who didn't write a bestseller. When we think normal curves apply but they don't, we are confusing what the world is like with how we would like it to be.
We are shoving reality into the Procrustean bed of our idealized thinking. That distorts our vision of reality. By keeping an open mind, at least, we won't be walking blindly into risk. We can't prevent the unexpected, but we can at least turn the black swans into grey swans. We are like the 13th fairy at the Sleeping Beauty's christening. We can't do away with the angry fairy's curse, but we can mitigate it. Grey swan, not black. The difficulty with many kinds of prognosticators in our world is that they are spinning theories that purport to predict, but their theories are stories, and their stories connect the plot points and only sound as though they are predictive.
We are lulled or, even worse, misled. We listen according to our preferred belief system. We listen to what we want to hear: I stop and summarize the triplet: A small number of Black Swans explains almost everything in our world, from the success of ideas and religions, to the dynamics of historical events, to elements of our own personal lives. The practical aim of Taleb's book is not to attempt to predict events which are unpredictable, but to build robustness against negative events while still exploiting positive events. Taleb contends that banks and trading firms are very vulnerable to hazardous black swan events and are exposed to unpredictable losses.
On the subject of business, and quantitative finance in particular, Taleb critiques the widespread use of the normal distribution model employed in financial engineering , calling it a Great Intellectual Fraud. Taleb elaborates the robustness concept as a central topic of his later book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. Taleb states that a black swan event depends on the observer. For example, what may be a black swan surprise for a turkey is not a black swan surprise to its butcher; hence the objective should be to "avoid being the turkey" by identifying areas of vulnerability in order to "turn the Black Swans white".
Taleb's black swan is different from the earlier philosophical versions of the problem, specifically in epistemology , as it concerns a phenomenon with specific empirical and statistical properties which he calls, "the fourth quadrant". Taleb's problem is about epistemic limitations in some parts of the areas covered in decision making. These limitations are twofold: The philosophical problem is about the decrease in knowledge when it comes to rare events as these are not visible in past samples and therefore require a strong a priori , or an extrapolating theory; accordingly predictions of events depend more and more on theories when their probability is small.
In the fourth quadrant, knowledge is uncertain and consequences are large, requiring more robustness. According to Taleb,  thinkers who came before him who dealt with the notion of the improbable, such as Hume , Mill , and Popper focused on the problem of induction in logic, specifically, that of drawing general conclusions from specific observations. The central and unique attribute of Taleb's black swan event is that it is high-profile.
His claim is that almost all consequential events in history come from the unexpected — yet humans later convince themselves that these events are explainable in hindsight. One problem, labeled the ludic fallacy by Taleb, is the belief that the unstructured randomness found in life resembles the structured randomness found in games.
This stems from the assumption that the unexpected may be predicted by extrapolating from variations in statistics based on past observations, especially when these statistics are presumed to represent samples from a normal distribution. These concerns often are highly relevant in financial markets, where major players sometimes assume normal distributions when using value at risk models, although market returns typically have fat tail distributions. Taleb said "I don't particularly care about the usual.
If you want to get an idea of a friend's temperament, ethics, and personal elegance, you need to look at him under the tests of severe circumstances, not under the regular rosy glow of daily life. Can you assess the danger a criminal poses by examining only what he does on an ordinary day? Can we understand health without considering wild diseases and epidemics? Indeed the normal is often irrelevant.