Monday, July 30, 2007

Some professions, such as dentists, consultants, or massage professionals, cannot be scaled

Books 2 Byte
The Black Swan
Nassim Nicholas Taleb


The central idea of Nassim Nicholas Taleb in ‘The Black Swan’ ( http://www.penguin.com/) is about our blindness with respect to randomness, particularly the large deviations.

What you don’t know is far more relevant than what you do know, argues the author. Focus on antiknowledge, he urges, therefore. “We do much less thinking than we believe we do – except, of course, when we think about it,” rues Taleb. “It looks as if we have the wrong user’s manual. Our minds do not seem made to think and introspect…”

He divides professions into two, the scalable and the rest. “Some professions, such as dentists, consultants, or massage professionals, cannot be scaled: there is a cap on the number of patients or clients you can see in a given period of time… Your revenue depends on your continuous efforts more than on the quality of your decisions.” This type of work is largely predictable, and so are revenues.

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