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What is a Black Swan? | Video

What is a Black Swan? | Video

The Black Swan is a book about risk, by polymath, Nassim Nicolas Taleb. It has an essential lesson about risk management.

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Black Swans risks that meet 3 criteria

  1. Outlier
    Something not expected from previous experience
  2. Extreme impact
  3. Explainable after the fact

You can think of a black swan event as an Unknown Unknown.

However, we do believe we could have predicted it… with hindsight

Taleb gets the name, Black Swan, from a quote from Juvenal:

“rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno”

“a rare bird in the lands and very much like a black swan”

Black swan events arise from the limitations of our knowledge. We need to understand this, as part of our understanding of risk management.

Taleb also identifies:

  • Grey Swans
    Known Unknowns
  • White Swans
    … such an event has a major effect, but is compatible with statistical properties. It was a Known-Known with low but finite likelihood – indeed some may predict it with high levels of precision.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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