Summer Reading

2 thoughts on “Summer Reading”

  1. Devil’s advocate here:
    Do you think ‘The Black Swan’ applies to avalanches? Taleb repeatedly states that he’s talking about non-natural ‘extremistan’ phenomena. Outliers that are by definition not predictable. Surely avalanches can be predicted?

    1. I think The Black Swan applies to systems that are governed by an overarching environment whose complexity is consistently beyond full comprehension. Taleb’s division of natural from non-natural is a bit misleading given that the latter is always dependent on the former. Just like stocks we can give best guesses at where and when an avalanche will occur based upon some simple variables and formulas but there is never complete certainty of a specific outcome. Some people ski 38 degree slopes on high/extreme days and don’t get caught. Then there are the unlucky few who get caught on a low day. I don’t think it is any mistake that on a considerable or moderate day is when most incidents occur. To me this is where the black swans live. Many people go skiing on days with these ratings in places they know well and thus feel safe…..until it slides.

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