The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable is a book by the essayist, scholar, philosopher, and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It was released on April 17, 2007 by Random House. The book focuses on the extreme impact of certain kinds of rare and unpredictable events (outliers) and humans’ tendency to find simplistic explanations for these events retrospectively. This theory has since become known as the black swan theory.
The book also covers subjects relating to knowledge, aesthetics, and ways of life, and uses elements of fiction in making its points. The author frequently shares anecdotes from his own life to elaborate his theories.
The book’s first edition appeared in 2007 and was a commercial success. It spent 36 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. The second, expanded edition appeared in 2010. The book is part of Taleb’s four volume philosophical essay on uncertainty, titled the Incerto and covers the following books: Antifragile (2012), The Black Swan (2007–2010), Fooled by Randomness (2001) and The Bed of Procrustes (2010-2016).