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Paperback: The Black Swan, By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Wall Street trader turned outlaw philosopher, Taleb never bores in this exploration of extreme, improbable events - and how they shape lives. He argues that "black swan" shocks with "low predictability and large impact" – from Harry Potter to September 11 – will grow more frequent and decisive. As fragile, interconnected systems run the world, we all now live in "Extremistan". Many readers will thrill to his freewheeling heretic's tour through ideas of probability, prediction and randomness. Some will bridle at his motormouth assurance and reckless attacks on enemies. In any case, he promises as wild a ride as any mad day on the markets. Strap yourself in, and enjoy it.