Having just read Black Swan by Nicolas Taleb am even more cynical about the way the world works than ever. But on the upside the book reinforced my faith in Fractals.
A Black Swan is an unlikely event, his central premise is that these events have a disproportionate impact on our lives and our futures. Most modern economic theory is based on the assumption that Gaussian Distribution holds true, the Bell curve to you and me, he holds that actually dramatic events such as 9-11 can not fit within this economic model therefore the model is wrong.
To understand what he is talking about go to the Edge conference.