Michael S. Lauer, MD
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the NHLBI, the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Requests for Single Reprints: Michael S. Lauer, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 8128, Bethesda, MD 20892; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauer MS. Investing in Clinical Science: Make Way for (Not-So-Uncommon) Outliers. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160:651-652. doi: 10.7326/M14-0655
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(9):651-652.
In 2007, Nassim Nicholas Taleb published his acclaimed bestseller, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (1). Taleb, a financier turned philosopher who predicted the 2008 economic crash, argued that “black swan” events drive most human history. Black swan events have 3 salient characteristics: They are “outside the realm of regular expectations”; are not predicted, lending themselves to explanation only after the fact; and have “extreme impact.” The inventions of the personal computer and the Internet, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the September 11 terrorist attacks were black swan events.
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