If you're like me, you've been hearing a lot of references to black swans lately.
And maybe like me you thought: "I'm sure they're not referring to that Natalie Portman ballet movie." Or maybe, unlike me, you've kept up with business writing in the past 20 years or so.
To sum up, while the phrase "black swan event" has been around on some level for centuries to refer to a very unusual occurrence, it was popularized in the book "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in 2007.
A black swan, Taleb wrote, is something that is highly unpredictable, carries a massive impact and after the fact we explain it in a way that makes it appear less random than it was.
Black swans aren't always bad, he says. A black swan could range from World War I and the 9/11 impacts to the rise of the internet and even the Harry Potter franchise.
Want to hear more? Here's a link to a presentation by Taleb in 2012. Or for a shorter take, try this 20-minute take by The Swedish Investor's YouTube.