I read "The Black Swan" several months ago and it really opened my eyes to a new understanding of risk. Here's an interview with the author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

There are two types of businesses: those that are exposed to Black Swans and those that are relatively insulated from them - not because Black Swans cannot occur, but because their impact is not going to be monstrous. Your dentist's income will not disappear on a single day: No single event will carry big consequences for her. But trading profits can all be lost by a single transaction. So some businesses are insulated, some (like technology) are exposed to positive Black Swans, and others are exposed to negative ones. ...

The Black Swan is a matter of perspective. A turkey is fed for 1,000 days - every day lulling it more and more into the feeling that the human feeders are acting in its best interest. Except that on the 1,001st day, the butcher shows up and there is a surprise. The surprise is for the turkey, not the butcher. Anyone who knows anything about the history of banking (or remembers the 1982 Latin American debt crisis or the 1990s savings and loan collapse) will tell you that the subprime crisis was so bound to happen. Banks are exposed to such blowups. Bankers have been the turkey, historically.

I recommend buying the book.

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