Sunday, August 12, 2007

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... are fewer and shorter than expected.

... I finally get around to writing about Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan: A lively, sassy study of what's not known. This turns out to be even shorter than the one I wrote - though whoever did the trimming did a fine job. (It seems a couple of ads took pride of place on the main book page this week. Well, they do help pay the bills. Missing is a review of Howard Jacobson's Kalooki Nights, which must be cursed: This is about the third time it's been held.)
Update: Dave Lull reminds me that in Fooled by Randomness Taleb traces the term Black Swan to J.S. Mill: "In his Treatise on Human Nature, the Scots philosopher David Hume posed the issue in the following way (as rephrased in the now famous black swan problem by John Stuart Mill): No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion." I don't recall that Taleb brings this up in The Black Swan and I mentioned Popper because I was familiar with the essay I quoted from. Taleb does mention that C.S Peirce came up with a version of the Black Swan solution long before Popper.

... John Freeman finds Rachel Seiffert's latest intriguingly ambiguous: Looking at how the burdens of the past affect us .

... Sandy Bauers listens to Harry and praises Jim Dale:
Dale's many voices bring world of Harry Potter to life.

... Kristin Granero finds the mystery's not the most important thing in Tasmina Perry's debut: 4 glam sisters suspect in kin's death.

... And Carlin Romano looks at time travel: Pastward travel and theories of time.

This past week ...

... Ed Sozanski enjoyed Andrew Ferguson on Lincoln: Adoring Abe: How and why we love Lincoln.

Check the book page for more.

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