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

When you beat up someone physically, you get exercise and stress relief; when you assault him verbally on the Internet, you just harm yourself.

With @EmanuelDerman before our lectures making snide comments trying to confuse the speaker while looking serious.

You don't become completely free by just avoiding being a slave; you also need to avoid becoming a master.

You want to be yourself, idiosyncratic; the collective (school, rules, jobs, technology) wants you generic to the point of castration.

To understand how something works, figure out how to break it.

Verba volent, words fly. Never have people who talk and don?t do been more visible, and played a larger role, than in modern times. This is the product of modernism and division of tasks. Recall that I said that America?s

We cannot truly plan, because we do not understand the future--but this is not necessarily a bad news. We could plan while bearing in mind such limitations. It just takes guts.

We know a lot more what is wrong than what is right.

We would not even need a statistician; a second-rate engineer would do.

What organized dating sites fail to understand is that the people are far more interesting in what they don't say about themselves.

When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new

With a Latin saying that sophistication is born out of hunger (artificia docuit fames).

You exist fully if and only if your conversation (or your scripts) cannot be easily reconstructed with clippings from other conversations

You want to favor systems that benefit from error, disorder, variability and things like that. You want to favor these systems and unfortunately, when - there's something I call the Soviet Illusion. The more the government becomes intrusive, the more things have to follow a script, and it can't handle this kind of system.

To understand the future, you do not need techno-autistic jargon, obsession with killer apps, these sort of things. You just need the following: some respect for the past, some curiosity about the historical record, a hunger for the wisdom of the elders, and a grasp of the notion of heuristics, these often unwritten rules of thumb that are so determining of survival. In other words, you will be forced to give weight to things that have been around, things that have survived.

Verbal threat is genuine impotence certificate.

We didn?t get where we are thanks to the sissy notion of resilience.

We know from chaos theory that even if you had a perfect model of the world, you'd need infinite precision in order to predict future events. With sociopolitical or economic phenomena, we don't have anything like that.

Weak act according to their needs, the stronger their obligations.

What should we control? As a rule, intervening to limit size (of companies, airports, or sources of pollution), concentration, and speed are beneficial in reducing Black Swan risks.

When you don?t have debt you don?t care about your reputation in economics circles?and somehow it is only when you don?t care about your reputation that you tend to have a good one. Just

With few exceptions, those who dress outrageously are robust or even anti-fragile in reputation; those clean-shaven types who dress in suits and ties are fragile to information about them.

You exist if and only if you are free to do things without a visible objective, with no justification and, above all, outside the dictatorship of someone else's narrative.

You will be civilized on the day you can spend a long period doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without feeling the slightest amount of guilt.

Too much success is the enemy, too much failure is demoralizing.

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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"