From the desk(top)

Elizabeth Estes

Book review: The Black Swan

If you sit down to read this book, grab a thesaurus, (definitely) some decaf, and buckle up. This thick, dense and super charged book by Nicholas Nassim Taleb may have been written more for the financial markets, but it truly changed the way I approach problems, opportunities marketing generally, and day to day life.

While the book is extremely intellectual, as a farm kid, my favorite learning from this book revolves around a turkey. The story goes like this: there is a turkey on a farm, every day the farmer goes to feed him, the turkey eats, leaves, goes to bed. The next day and the day after that, the same thing. The turkey has a great life. Until the day before Thanksgiving. The turkey comes out and the farmer chops his head off. The turkey never considered the possibility. Humans can behave the same. Our inherent behavioral biases can lull us into never considering the possibilities outside what we already know, or what is statistically possible. We are limited by what we know. Or what someone before us thinks they knew. Until we aren’t. The key is to think about what we know but not as confirmation bias, but the opposite. To challenge it. To question it. To argue with ourselves until we consider ALL the possibilities of an issue. Bottom line: don’t be a turkey.

Key Takeaway: We aren’t limited by what we DON’T know. We are limited by what we KNOW, because we never consider other possibilities.

The Meraki team will be having some literary fun over the next year by doing book reviews of meaningful and interesting books. Think of it like a book club without the smalltalk. It’s perfect. We’re excited, because as Da Vinci said, “learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” Happy Reading!

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