Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas

Lebanese-American Essayist, Scholar, Statistician, Former Trader and Risk Analyst, Author of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable"

Author Quotes

We scorn the abstract; we scorn it with passion.

What I learned on my own I still remember

When I trade, I don't have an agency problem; I have my neck on the line. When a bank or banker trades, it's not his neck on the line.

While we know that history flows forward, it is difficult to realize that we envision it backward. Why is it so?

Yet they believe blindly in the stock market, and in the abilities of their pension plan manager. Why do they do so? Because they accept that this is what people should do with their savings, because experts tell them so. The doubt their own sense, but not for a second do they doubt their automatic purchases in the stock market.

You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment & make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race.

To be completely cured of newspapers, spend a year reading the previous week's newspapers.

Under opacity and in the newfound complexity of the world, people can hide risks and hurt others, with the law incapable of catching them. Iatrogenics has both delayed and invisible consequences. It is hard to see causal links, to fully understand what?s going on.

We are too brainwashed by notions of causality and we think that it is smarter to say because than to accept randomness.

We have far too many ways to interpret past events for our own good.

We should ban banks from risk-taking because society is going to pay the price.

What is made to fly will not do well trapped on the ground,

When some systems are stuck in a dangerous impasse, randomness and only randomness can unlock them and set them free.

Why did we build something so fragile to these types of events? Not seeing a tsunami or an economic event coming is excusable; building something fragile to them is not.

You are rich if and only if money you refuse tastes better than money you accept.

You may prefer apples to oranges, oranges to pears, but pears to apples?it depends on how the choices are presented to you.

To become a philosopher, start by walking very slowly.

Unlike a well-defined, precise game like Russian roulette, where the risks are visible to anyone capable of multiplying and dividing by six, one does not observe the barrel of reality.

We build toys. Some of those toys change the world.

We have managed to transfer religious belief into gullibility for whatever can masquerade as science.

We should probably stop trading derivatives, anything more complex than regular options... I am an options trader, and I don't understand options. How do you want a regulator to understand them?

What is non-measurable and non-predictable will remain non-measurable and non-predictable... no matter how much hate mail I get.

When things go our way we reject the lack of certainty.

Why do we keep focusing on the minutiae, not the possible significant large events, in spite of the obvious evidence of their huge influence?

You can afford to be compassionate, lax, and courteous if, once in a while, when it is least expected of you, but completely justified, you sue someone, or savage an enemy, just to show that you can walk the walk.

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Nassim Nicholas
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Lebanese-American Essayist, Scholar, Statistician, Former Trader and Risk Analyst, Author of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable"