lonewolf wrote:..... I believe this is the first novel by Buckley I have read. I plowed through about half of it last night. The man does have a way with words, lots of words. I am a reasonably erudite person but I recommend If you plan to read him have a dictionary and thesaurus at hand.
The one I'm reading threw "benignant" at me last night.
"The Physics of NASCAR". i picked it up for some beach reading in Miami, this past week. The author is a physics prof who developed an interest in the sport after catching a glimpse of a wreck during a race on television. She was curious about why one car seemed to slam into the wall for no obvious reason. That curiousity branched out into this book, which is a light, but intoxicating read. I give it two grease-covered thumbs up.
Marlow wrote:Any one else read The Road, soon to be a movie? Very
Yep, I read it a few months ago. It's a very good book but not exactly upbeat....
It sure grabbed me, page by page.
It did me too. I think I read it in two sessions, couldn't put it down. His style is perfect for such an atmospherically gloomy scenario. Looking at the movie on imdb I'm wondering how they'll handle the mother character, who Charlize Theron plays. I can't remember the mother being in the book at all, beyond reference to her committing suicide.
His Black Swansare high improbable, impactful events that we didn’t see coming. Among his examples are the World Wars, the rise of religions, of the internet, of Google, of Harry Potter and the September 11 attacks
1st coupla events were very predictable - former since 1870 & next since 632
latter mentioned are technological ( web ), trivial ( potter ) or burgeoning ( 9/11 - documentaries say something was brewing since attacks on east african embassy & warship in late '90s )
i'll go out on a limb & say :
- HIV cure in 20y
- limitless fusion power in 30y
- an american heavyweight regains undisputed crown by beating up ruskie in 100y
Taleb's arguments re: the "penny-shares" is that you can make much informed choices amongst them by having a better appreciation of what exposure they have to downside or upside risks.
On the issue of "highly improbable, impactful events", Taleb's point is that most major events are retrospectively predicted - can we post-hoc see the signals for WW2, 9/11 etc? Of course we can. Did we see them beforehand and act to prevent such events (or to protect ourselves from their impact, or indeed proft from them)? No
As for Harry Potter, artists, religions and all the other 'trival' aspects the point is that who wins here can are very impactful but very hard to predetermine, and also that the scale of their impact is unexpected beforehand. We can doddle along with village/tribe level beliefs and all of a sudden a religion can "explode" over a couple of decades/centuries to unprecedented sacel and influence.
And I find it hard to consider the Potter example trivial. The series of books has made the author a billionaire and both a publishing house and a film studio much more significant than they would be without them. Before this, noone was expecting a childrens book to be such an enormous seller. It changes the game in publishing...
Sort of like the impact of Usain Bolt, Paula Radcliffe etc
I'm now into (while taking a mid-book hiatus from The Collapse Of The Third Republic) the Simon Winchester work The Map That Changed the World, about stratigrapher William Smith. If Winchester's name is vaguely familiar that's because he wrote The Professor And The Madman about the creation of the OED.
I'm reading old Arthur Upfield mysteries. Upfield was the first Australian mystery novelist, beginning back in the late 20's. He was the inspiration for Tony Hillerman's series of Navajo detective books. Upfield's protagonist is a half white, half aboriginal who uses both cultural heritages to solve murders in the outback. The writing is antique in style and dripping with colonial racism but is a fun glimpse of the time and place.