We’ve known about ‘unknown unknowns’ for years

With Donald Rumsfeld’s book Known and Unknown making the rounds, I keep hearing the speech that gave the book its title:

[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

This idea is not new. I don’t know who was the first ever to use this concept, but an old usage and favorite of mine comes from the best book every written on investing, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator:

Among the hazards of speculation the happening of the unexpected–I might even say of the unexpectable–ranks high.

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4 responses to “We’ve known about ‘unknown unknowns’ for years

  1. Ah, Reminiscences. I read it years ago, and I second your opinion of it. “Be right & sit tight,” as quoted in the Amazon link, just one of many fine words of advice contained within its pages.

  2. Great idea. I’d love to read ’em again.

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