Home > News > Foolish Book Review: "The Black Swan"
August 10th, 2007
Foolish Book Review: "The Black Swan"
One important lesson imbedded in these historical analogies is that what we don't know is frequently more important than what we do know (or think we know). This seemly innocuous statement is actually quite profound. Here's why. Throughout the book, Taleb offers compelling evidence that people -- especially so-called experts -- tend to overestimate what they know and underestimate the uncertainty that is derived from those things they don't know.
For example, how often have you heard experts in a given field make bold, confident statements? A case in point is the energy industry. These days it is not uncommon to hear specialists in the field say that oil, coal, and natural gas will remain the main source of energy for the next 30 years. Such statements can easily lead investors to believe ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), Sasol (NYSE: SSL), and Chevron are, and will remain, solid blue-chip investments for the foreseeable future.
The problem is the people making these predictions don't know what they don't know. For example, how much do they know about synthetic genomics, such as BP (NYSE: BP) is now investigating? Is it possible that "designer bacteria" and biomass -- and not oil -- could be a major source of our energy in the future? Or is it possible that one of the nanotechnology companies that Harris & Harris (Nasdaq: TINY) has invested in could produce a breakthrough that could revolutionize solar energy and make it cost-competitive with coal?
Elsevier Business Intelligence (EBI) to Host 'IN3 Medical Device 360 Boston,' June 24-26, 2013 May 20th, 2013
Aspen Aerogels Announces $22.5 Million Private Placement May 18th, 2013
Harris & Harris Group Notes the Sale of a Second D-Wave Quantum Computer May 16th, 2013
Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events May 14th, 2013
Heinrich Rohrer dies at 79; a father of nanotechnology: With IBM colleague Gerd Binnig, Rohrer invented the scanning tunneling microscope, which can show individual atoms on a surface and move them around May 23rd, 2013
IDTechEx launches online Market Intelligence Portal May 23rd, 2013
Whirlpools on the Nanoscale Could Multiply Magnetic Memory: At the Advanced Light Source, Berkeley Lab scientists join an international team to control spin orientation in magnetic nanodisks May 22nd, 2013
UofL scientists uncover how grapefruits provide a secret weapon in medical drug delivery May 22nd, 2013