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Cygnes noirs

10/01/2008 - par Mark Tungate

It's the time of year when the media love to make predictions. But one man who won't be making any is Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the book The Black Swan. Taleb's book argues that life is impossible to predict, and that much of history has been shaped by random or improbable events - September 11 being an obvious example. Even bestselling books, block­buster films or celebrities appear out of nowhere more often than they are constructed by marketing experts. Who knows what black swans will pop up in 2008 ?

By the way, The Black Swan is also the name of a pub in Bow Road, London. In 1916 the pub was hit by a bomb dropped from a German airship. The landlord's dead daughters now haunt the place. That's improbability for you.

Still, not wishing to be a black swan myself, I decided to join the crowd and make a few predictions. I have loaded the dice by making a list of the things I know I will definitely NOT DO in 2008.

1. I will not buy an iPhone. 2. I will not buy a Blu-Ray disc player. 3. I will not watch the ­Beijing Olympics, especially the figure skating. 4. I will not grow a moustache, no matter how fashionable they are. 5. I will not smoke in bars, cafés or restaurants. And I will not laugh at all the people smoking outside them in January. At least, I promise to try not to laugh.

I hope I'll still be writing this column by the end of the year. But maybe that flapping sound I hear is a black swan coming in to land.

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Cygnes noirs

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