Tell less and communicate more
TFS: Beware the lucky dog

TFS: Making up stories to remember the truth

Our brains are not wired to quickly grasp statistical realities. We crave cause and effect. Over the centuries some of our best thinkers have tried to help us grasp reality by inventing metaphors and stories that will stick in our mind, such as the "random walk." (Whether or not you believe that stock prices behave that way is not the point. The point is that this statistical hypothesis needed a memorable name to help people grasp it.)

"Black Swan" is another memorable story about statistical reality, this one invented by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of Tq130605shregular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme 'impact'. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

Another favorite story of mine is "It's not about you." We have a tendency to personalize everything that happens to us. When some poor victim of happenstance (like me) wants to share of tale of woe about how they (I) never get what they (I) want, just roll your eyes and say "maybe it's not about you."


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