The charm of the sensational

The charm of the sensational

Nicholas Taleb in his book about the Black Swan theory, states that:

Abstract statistic information do not appeal ourselves as much as short stories.

Italian well picture by Bello2Buono (Jurga Po)

In order to give an example of this statement he makes reference to the Italian case of Alfredino Rampi, a little boy who fell into a well at the beginning of the ’8Os. The author chose this case because it has been a worldwide shock, there were millions of people who have been following the televisions programs reporting the rescues, not only in Italy, but also in some war countries such as Lebanon at the time. This is the trickiness of this anecdote: the death of a single little child, in a particular dangerous situation, was much more sensational for the world’s population rather then millions of killed children by bombs in Beirut!


Now, what can we learn from this example? This is quite difficult to admit, but we are attracted by stories, something little but interesting, near to us, something that we can follow and participate with empathy, something in which we can recognize ourselves.

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2 Responses to The charm of the sensational

  1. Alex Radzyner 4 giugno 2012 at 21:30

    “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” Joseph Stalin to Winston Churchill

  2. ganesha84 7 giugno 2012 at 22:11

    Man is in urgent need of intense emotions all the time. That’s the only way through which we feel really ALIVE.


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