black swans

This tag is associated with 7 posts

Proud to be a war quant

I’ve just re-read Douglas W Hubbard’s The Failure of Risk Management.  It’s an odd book in that while I agree with most of what’s in it, I’m not particularly convinced by the overall story suggested by the subtitle: Why It’s Broken and How to Fix It. Hubbard’s theme is that we do not do enough, […]

Fragility management

I reviewed Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book Antifragility with the promise to look separately at what the lessons might be for organisational risk management.  The answer is quite a bit, and this article will just be an initial high level view.  The thinking is developed pretty uncritically from the book.  There will be plenty of scope […]


Antifragility is the topic of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s last book in his trilogy on our uncertain world and how to deal with it.  The other two were Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan.  These are both relatively narrow in their scope – though well worth their own reviews at some point – whilst Antifragility gives […]

Risk registers, bloody risk registers

It all sounds so simple.  Just make a list of all the risks.  Then you can start figuring out how to prioritise them and manage them in a comprehensive and visible way.  Job done. This was how it seemed back in the early 90s when we took some tools that had proven quite effective for the management of […]

What’s the use of risk?

This week the the IRM held its Annual Lecture at the Willis Building.  This is a longstanding sponsored breakfast event which used to be held at the old Willis building at Ten Trinity Square.  It’s usually a thought-provoking occasion though since Willis’s move to Lime Street health and safety considerations have somehow stopped them dishing up bacon and sausage sandwiches.  Such […]

Complexity, cockroaches and building resilience

The near collapse of the financial system was fairly widely predicted though the political community is somewhat in denial about that. What was less widely foreseen was that it would happen in September 2008: it was a risk waiting to materialise as we risk geeks say. Two authors with a gold-plated prediction record on this, […]

The end of cycles

Here’s something that I’ve taken from a blog I did on how decisions are taken in public life and the role of media in supporting them (or not). Economists have laboured for years to model the behaviour of markets.  The models have become ever more complex and contain ever more parameters to help fitting the results to […]