Why do we, scientists or nonscientists, hotshots or regular Joes, tend to see the pennies instead of dollars? Why do we keep focusing on the minutiae, not the possible significant large events, in spite of the obvious evidence of their huge influence? And, if you follow my argument, why does reading the newspaper actually decrease
your knowledge of the world?
It is easy to see that life is the cumulative effect of a handful of significant shocks. It is not so hard to identify the role of Black Swans, from your armchair (or bar stool). Go through the following exercise. Look into your own existence. Count the significant events, the technological changes, and the inventions that have taken place in our environment since you were born and compare them to what was expected before their advent. How many of them came on schedule? Look into your own personal life, to your choice of profession, say, or meeting our mate, your exile from your country of origin, the betrayals you faced, your sudden enrichment or impoverishment. How often did these things occur according to plan? Taken from: Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Random House, 2007