Nassim Taleb's "The Black Swan" is that rare book that can change the course of one's life, and, if enough people use its insights, the course of history.
Summaries are inadequate--one needs to study the book, as the shifts in thinking the author shows us how to make are so great, we need to invest time and attention. Stick with it despite the resistance that deeply ingrained ways may raise (even unconsciously) against it.
This is the only book I've ever found that prepared me to deal with uncertainty, and the future.
Saturday afternoon, at a pocket park in Chelsea, I waited for my last boyfriend. (OK, so he was also my first and so-far only one.) I’d agreed to meet for coffee, a year after dumping him. At a nearby café table, a group of young men chatted. One of them wore pink hot pants, pink tiger-striped sneakers and his uncombed, harshly dyed hair knotted and held by a gold plastic comb. An orchid fell from his hairdo each time he turned to yell at his dog. “Don’t embarrass me,” he scolded. The meek bitch looked nervously up from under a thick, cheap pink bow tied over her ears. The ribbon looped twice around her head and fell in her eyes. I think she was a mix of boxer and pit bull. She also wore a pink leather collar and leash. The man entertained his friends with stories. “I was dragging this stuffed dog around, tying it up outside shops . . ..” The boxer crept quietly over to me. My ex arrived and looked at me, then the dog. She looked back at him, and then hopefully at me. “I have a dog now,” I told Marc. “She’s named Precious.” He raised his eyes sideways to the sky with a plaintive look that said, “Since she lost me, she’s gone barking mad.”
In the new film, The Duchess, Keira Knightley gives a mesmerizing performance as Genevieve Spencer, an ancestor of Princess Diana, who was Lady Spencer before her marriage to Prince Charles. Jeremy Irons brilliantly brings to life the rich old duke who arranges to marry her. It reminded me of his brilliant performance in "Reversal of Fortune." Both actors create characters who have layers of complexity. I felt that Keira was "channeling" Princess Diana--I saw in her the same paradoxical shyness and social brilliance, that strange mix of intimacy and mystery. And the story of this duchess bears eerie similarities the Diana's own. Don't read a synopsis before you see it. Let the story surprise you.