Dan Hill provides an excellent summary of The Black Swan and includes a few excepts specifically useful to designers and urban planners.
This is a book that I almost didn’t read. Like The Long Tail or Here Comes Everybody, for instance. Both books I own but don’t feel the need to read, feeling that I’ve already having experienced much of what lies inside. This betrays my own arrogance I suppose, and I’ve no doubt I’ve missed a few profound insights this way. But given the choice I prefer to read about things I don’t know, books that don’t promise to back up my existing ideas. Then there are those like Gladwell’s Blink or The Tipping Point, books whose title more or less says it all. A quick rifle through the pages of these books in an airport bookshop – in that peculiar pre-flight mode of having no time and time on your hands – is enough to get the gist, and speculate as to their point.
The Black Swan almost fell into this category, but a recommendation by Paul Schütze and a few others meant that I did pick it up – at Melbourne Airport, ironically – and consumed it voraciously.
It’s not so much a popular science book as a popular statistics book, not a genre I would’ve thought probable to emerge, and thus something of a black swan in itself.
Full Story: City of Sound.
Another good overview can be found by reading The Telegraph’s interview with Taleb