Speaking of WaPo, Jodi Kantor’s report on Barack Obama is the most persuasive one I’ve seen on the man. I’ve finally gotten around to reading his Dreams from My Father and, though the stories he tells about himself there are nothing short of enchanting, I’ve been somewhat disconcerted by their neatly scripted, tightly edited feel. Ms. Kantor’s report sheds light on this sensation in a way that nothing else I’ve see does. It made me go back and look at her other articles; I think there’s a Pulitzer or two waiting for her—not now, but somewhere down the line.
And as another piece of proof that I’m behind the curve, I’m also finally reading The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A Black Swan, according to Mr. Taleb, is an event with the following three attributes:
First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of normal expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.No need to explain why I’m getting into it now. Funny thing is, the real black swan carries only the first attribute.
Incidentally, I bought the two books (and a few others) at the Shinjuku Junkudo bookstore, which is currently selling all its foreign language books at half-price. For those of you in the Tokyo area who weren’t aware of it, the 50%-off sale continues till the end of this month.