What We’re Reading

Preeti Aroon The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Humans look to the past to make predictions about the future, but so many high-impact events are simply unpredictable—they are “Black Swans.” Taleb probes the cognitive biases and logical fallacies that distort people’s efforts to predict the future. That, at ...

599886_070820_powell_05.jpg
599886_070820_powell_05.jpg

Preeti Aroon

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Humans look to the past to make predictions about the future, but so many high-impact events are simply unpredictable—they are "Black Swans." Taleb probes the cognitive biases and logical fallacies that distort people’s efforts to predict the future. That, at least, is what I’ve picked up so far in reading the first 50 pages; I look forward to the 250 remaining.

Christine Chen

Preeti Aroon

  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Humans look to the past to make predictions about the future, but so many high-impact events are simply unpredictable—they are “Black Swans.” Taleb probes the cognitive biases and logical fallacies that distort people’s efforts to predict the future. That, at least, is what I’ve picked up so far in reading the first 50 pages; I look forward to the 250 remaining.

Christine Chen

  • Fall Movie Preview in Entertainment Weekly. EW takes a look at the movies that will be released between now and the end of the year, including politically-themed ones such as In the Valley of Elah (about a soldier who goes AWOL at home after returning from Iraq), The Kingdom (about U.S. intelligence officers investigating a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia), and Rendition (about a pregnant Midwestern woman who realizes that her Egyptian-born husband is being held and interrogated by the CIA). Hmm … sense a theme?

Mike Boyer

  • Buffalo for the Broken Heart, by Dan O’Brien. A tale of how one South Dakota rancher returned free-ranging buffalo to a land that hadn’t seen them in 150 years.

David McNew/Getty Images News

Blake Hounshell

Prerna Mankad

  • Shall I Compare Thee to an Evil Tyrant?, at Slate.com. What’s going on in the mind of a Guantanamo prisoner? Meghan O’Rourke tackles this question in her review of the newly-released volume, Poems From Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak. If nothing else, she concludes, the poems will leave the reader acutely aware that the detainees are not simply faceless “enemy combatants,” but complex humans with many layers of reflection.

Carolyn O’Hara

  • The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. In an interesting thought experiment, Weisman asks the following: If humans disappeared from the Earth tomorrow, what would the planet look like a year from now? A century from now? How would nature reclaim the world?

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