1) it depends on the work
2) it depends on the type of production
3) it depends on the person
4) it depends on the time scale
i believe that those who think they are superhuman are mostly wrong, but some of them are right. wasn't it kahneman and tversky who measured confidence and for people over-estimated their skills? i'm pretty sure 95% of swedes believe that they are better than average in sweden (read taleb's the black swan#). and then there is the Dunning-Kruger effect^ which describes the underestimation of skills by the skilled and the overestimation of skills by the unskilled, the n00bs as it were. so i consider self-selection specious. i want to see a measure of the guys who didn't toot their own horn, or more appropriately, those recognized by their peers as being exceptional.
† production on long time scales does not fit to the bell curve because it can be 'bumpy', but normalized for innovation it should
You can actually ask your question there as well in case this question gets unnoticed on HN; Quora people are very smart and pretty responsive
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stochastic_process, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_walk and do a search for Random Processes or Stochastic Processes on Amazon bookstore
Read about Entropy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy
A good book on Information theory can help you put it in context: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_18?url=search-alias...
Check out GMP http://gmplib.org/
If you're philosophically inclined read some existentialists, they deal a lot with irrationality and chaos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism
If you're financially inclined read Random Walk Down Wall Street: http://www.amazon.com/Random-Walk-Down-Wall-Street/dp/039331 and the Black Swan: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Swan-Impact-Highly-Improbable/dp... you may want to check out his other book as well, it is rather non-technical: http://www.amazon.com/Fooled-Randomness-Hidden-Chance-Market...
To learn more on how Wall Street deals with the stock market randomness read some books on Time Series analysis and forecasting, e.g the classic http://www.amazon.com/Time-Analysis-Forecasting-Probability-...
If you are a data scientist in heart read this great Q&A thread: http://www.quora.com/How-do-I-become-a-data-scientist
I wish I could help you with a link to a clear non-technical introductory article but this is all I've got. As random as it gets:)
Probably some good introductory book on science will fit the bill, science after all deals primarily with randomness.
You may want to check out http://www.amazon.com/G%C3%B6del-Escher-Bach-Eternal-Golden/...
Basically, Taleb says the event must be:
1. Quite difficult to predict
2. Have an significant impact
3. Be able to be explained rationally, after the fact
Examples include September 11th attacks, the personal computer, Google and others.
Read more about at your desired level of interest:
Note: I found the writing style of the author to be a little quirky. You may want to read a sample chapter at local bookstore before going all in.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb also addresses this topic in some depth in his book "The black Swan" (http://www.amazon.com/Black-Swan-Impact-Highly-Improbable/dp...).
The fellow's predictions in the past have missed the big events: don't bother trusting his newest predictions.
A "sell the company" business model is like becoming an actor with a mind of becoming rich like Tom Cruise. No doubt some people who do it will find some success, but by definition this is something that (a) works only for a small number of people (the world needs a limited number of movie stars, Google & Co acquire a limited number of companies) and (b) contains a large element of luck - many actors have comparable talent & looks, many companies can (and a few already have) build a Twitter-like product.
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a great book about the randomness in our lives: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Swan-Impact-Highly-Improbable/dp...
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